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Mindfulness

5 Mindful Micro-Moments: Sprinkling Serenity into Busy Parent Life

Parenting: a chaotic symphony where laundry crescendos compete with laughter’s soaring melodies, and bedtime tantrums test the conductor’s calm. Between spilled cereal and superhero costume meltdowns, prioritizing mindfulness can feel like chasing butterflies with a net. But worry not, weary warrior!

This isn’t a call for hour-long meditations or silent retreats (though, applause if you find those moments!). We’re talking tiny practices, big impact – micro-moments of mindfulness woven into the fabric of your day, fostering peace and connection with your little ones, even with limited time.

Embrace the Power of Micro-Mindfulness for Parents and Kids

Research underscores the importance of mindfulness for both parents and children. Studies show that incorporating mindful parenting practices reduces stress and anxiety for parents, improves emotional regulation in kids, and strengthens family bonds. And the best part? You don’t need a dedicated zen space or special equipment. Micro-mindfulness thrives in the messy middle of everyday life.

So, grab your little ninjas and unleash the magic of these 5 powerful, quick-hit practices for mindful parenting and child development:

1. Breathe & Bond: A 2-Minute Tranquility Tune-Up

Imagine this: you and your child, sprawled on the living room floor, a cuddly toy nestled between you. Close your eyes, take slow, deep breaths in and out, mimicking the toy’s gentle rise and fall. This simple practice, inspired by mindfulness breathing exercises for families, synchronizes your nervous systems, promoting emotional regulation and parent-child bonding. Two minutes, no special tools needed, just peaceful breaths and shared whispers of calm.

2. Sensory Safari: 5 Minutes of Mindful Adventure

Blindfold your child (optional) and embark on a sensory escapade! Explore the world through touch, taste, and smell. Trace the bumps on a pebble, savor the tang of a juicy orange, and inhale the earthy scent of a potted plant. This practice, aligned with sensory play activities for mindfulness in children, heightens awareness, reduces stress, and cultivates appreciation for everyday moments. Five minutes of sensorial adventure tucked into a nature walk, breakfast routine, or even while folding laundry can transform the mundane into a magical mindfulness mission for families.

3. Gratitude Groove: 3 Minutes of Joyful Jiggling

Crank up the tunes and unleash your inner disco diva! Take turns naming things you’re grateful for, from silly socks to sunshine. Dance like nobody’s watching (except your giggling offspring, of course!). This playful practice, inspired by positive psychology research on gratitude exercises for families, celebrates positive emotions, builds resilience, and encourages a spirit of thankfulness. Three minutes of gratitude boogie during morning prep or before bedtime can turn a routine into a joyful celebration of the good stuff.

4. Kindness Countdown: Spreading Compassion, One Smile at a Time

Choose a number – start low, like five! Throughout the day, catch each other performing acts of kindness, big or small. From holding open the door to sharing a favorite toy, every good deed counts. Celebrate reaching your goal with hugs or silly cheers. This practice, aligned with research on prosocial effects of kindness in children, inspires compassion, reinforces positive behavior, and creates a shared experience of joy. A kindness countdown woven into the fabric of your day can transform your family into a team of superheroes, spreading goodness one smile at a time.

5. Nature Ninja: 5 Minutes of Wild Wisdom

Step outside, even a balcony garden will do! Gather natural objects – leaves, twigs, smooth stones – and let your imaginations run wild. Mimic a swaying tree, roar like a lion, or crawl silently like a snail. This practice, in line with nature-based mindfulness recommendations for kids, connects children with the outdoors, encourages movement and creativity, and reduces reliance on digital entertainment. Five minutes of nature ninja training during any outdoor time can unleash a sense of wonder and reconnect your family with the magic of the natural world.

Remember, consistency is key. Even these fleeting moments of mindfulness, sprinkled throughout your day, can add up to a calmer, more connected family life. So breathe, play, savor the joy, and unleash the power of micro-mindfulness – one tiny practice at a time!

P.S. Feel free to personalize these activities to your family’s unique interests and routines. The possibilities are endless!

Guest Posts

Guest Post: The Ultimate Guide to Driving Safely with Kids

When you’re out driving, keeping everyone safe, especially the kids, is paramount. So, what can you do to make sure you stay safe?

When it comes to driving with kids, safety should always be the top priority. As a responsible driver, you don’t want to have to need drink driving solicitors, so it is crucial to ensure the well-being of your children during car journeys. By implementing essential safety measures and considering various factors before setting off, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone in the vehicle.

In this article, we will explore the importance of driving safely with kids and provide practical considerations to enhance safety, so keep reading to find out more…

Car Seats

Car seats play a vital role in protecting children during car journeys. Ensure you choose the appropriate car seat for your child’s age, weight, and height, and install it correctly in your vehicle.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely and keep up with any necessary adjustments as your child grows. You should also regularly inspect the car seat for signs of wear and tear and replace it if needed. Remember, properly securing your child in an appropriate car seat significantly reduces the risk of injury in case of an accident.

Travel Preparation

Before embarking on a journey with kids, thorough trip preparation is essential. Plan your route in advance, considering rest stops or breaks for longer drives. This allows everyone to stretch their legs, use the bathroom, and refresh.

Pack essential items such as snacks, water, blankets, and entertainment to keep children comfortable and occupied during the trip. A well-prepared journey sets the stage for a smoother and safer experience on the road.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Safe Driving Practices

As the driver, your behaviour on the road directly influences your children’s understanding of safe driving. Follow all traffic laws, including speed limits and road signs. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and use turn signals when changing lanes or making turns. Avoid aggressive driving behaviours, such as tailgating or speeding. By demonstrating safe driving practices, you instil the importance of responsible and cautious driving in your children.

Managing Distractions

Driving with kids can be distracting, but it is crucial to prioritise the task at hand. Minimise distractions by refraining from using your phone while driving and focusing solely on the road ahead. If necessary, pull over to use hands-free technology or attend urgent matters. Engage children in quiet and safe activities or provide them with age-appropriate entertainment options to reduce distractions and maintain your focus on the road.

Dealing with Challenging Situations

Challenging situations may arise during car journeys, such as tantrums, motion sickness, or unexpected events. It is essential to stay calm and composed when facing these challenges. Address any immediate safety concerns, such as pulling over if necessary, and provide reassurance and comfort to your children. Carry necessary supplies, such as tissues, plastic bags, and wet wipes, to handle unexpected situations effectively.

Weather Conditions and Traffic

When driving with kids, it is vital to consider external factors that can impact safety. Stay informed about weather conditions before starting your journey and adjust your plans accordingly. During adverse weather, such as heavy rain or snow, exercise extra caution and allow for additional travel time. Additionally, plan your travel around peak traffic hours to avoid unnecessary stress and potential hazards.

Be Prepared for the Unexpected

While we hope for smooth journeys, it is essential to be prepared for emergencies. Carry a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle, including a first-aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, a spare tire, and tools for changing tires.

Familiarise yourself with emergency procedures, such as contacting roadside assistance or emergency services if needed. By being prepared, you can effectively handle unexpected situations and ensure the safety of your family.

Photo by Elina Sazonova from Pexels

Driving Safely with Kids

Driving safely with kids requires careful consideration and adherence to essential safety practices. By prioritising safety and practicing safe driving behaviours, you create a secure environment for your children during car journeys. Remember, responsible and attentive driving not only protects your precious passengers but also sets a positive example for their future habits behind the wheel.

*Photo by Lisa Fotios

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Bonding Ideas for Dads and their Special Needs Children

In this article, we’ll be exploring how dads can strengthen their relationship with their special needs children…

Being a father to a child with special needs is a remarkable journey, filled with unique joys and challenges. While you may be seeking guidance from special educational needs lawyers, it’s crucial to focus on nurturing a deep connection with your child.

 In this article, we’ll explore some valuable tips and strategies to strengthen the bond between dads and their special needs children, ensuring a loving and supportive relationship.

Understanding the Significance of Bonding

For dads with special needs children, bonding takes on even greater importance, as it builds trust, emotional resilience, and a deep sense of security. Through bonding activities, dads can build a solid foundation, creating a safe and nurturing environment where their children can grow and thrive.

Embracing the Unique Needs of Your Child

When it comes to bonding, one key factor is getting to know and accepting the special needs of your child. It’s all about taking the time to understand the little details of their condition, and hone in on their strengths and challenges, as well as how they communicate.

 By diving into this, dads can adapt their parenting style and provide tailored support that truly connects with their child’s unique personality. It’s about embracing their individuality and finding the best ways to be there for them.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Forging a Nurturing and Supportive Environment

In a loving and supportive atmosphere, children can feel heard and safe. Dads can create this safe haven by establishing routines, setting clear but gentle limits, and consistently showing love and care. You could include some of the following:

  • Clear expectations: Clearly communicate the rules and expectations in a way that your child can understand. Use simple and concise language, visual cues, or social stories if necessary.

  • Consistency: Be consistent in enforcing the boundaries you set. This helps the child understand what is expected of them and creates a sense of security.

  • Flexibility: Recognise that some flexibility may be required, depending on the specific needs and challenges of your child. Adapt the boundaries as necessary to accommodate their unique circumstances, while still maintaining a structured environment.

  • Positive reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage your child’s adherence to boundaries. Praise and reward them when they respect the boundaries and demonstrate appropriate behaviour.

Playful Interaction

In the world of bonding, play emerges as a superpower, effortlessly breaking down any barriers. Fathers can immerse themselves in the world of play, embarking on delightful adventures that align with their child’s unique interests and passions.

Through games, sensory explorations, and adventures, fathers can tap into the appreciation of shared experiences, laughter, and growth, creating indelible memories that will forever resonate in their child’s heart.

Seeking Help

Fatherhood doesn’t have to be a solo adventure. It’s important to embrace the wealth of resources and friends out there to grow personally and build a strong bond with your special needs child.

Get involved in local support groups, seek advice from experienced individuals, and explore online communities that bring together dads on similar journeys. These incredible spaces offer knowledge, support, and the comforting reassurance that you’re not alone in this journey.

By connecting with others, you’ll gain confidence and guidance. Because let’s face it, we don’t always have all the answers, but with a little help, you can feel more assured that you’re on the right path.

Celebrating Milestones

Dads can become their kid’s biggest supporters by celebrating and honouring their child’s achievements, no matter how small or ordinary they may seem.

By fostering an environment that embraces progress and personal growth, dads nurture a deep sense of pride and motivation in their kids. This can create a bond that grows even stronger with each milestone, manifesting a loving and caring relationship.

Prioritise Self-Care

As a parent, you should never neglect your own health, especially when you’re caring for a special needs child. It might seem like your children’s needs always come first but remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

By looking after yourself, you’ll have more energy, patience, and resilience to be the best parent you can be. So, don’t forget to take breaks, find support, and prioritise self-care. You deserve it, and your child will benefit from having a happy and healthy parent by their side.

Bonding with your special needs child

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels

Bonding between dads and their special needs children is a journey filled with extraordinary moments and unique challenges. By embracing the power of creating a safe environment, play, support, celebration, and self-care, fathers can forge unbreakable connections with their kids.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Reach out to others, seek guidance, and celebrate the incredible milestones along the way. Together, you and your child can create a bond that is as strong as it is beautiful.


*Feature Photo by Kampus Production

 

Reviews

Tom life insurance review 2023

As a dedicated father having life insurance protection in place is vital to ensure my child’s financial future. It is reassuring to know that if anything were to happen to me, she would still be properly provided for throughout her childhood and beyond.

But for those dads out there currently without life insurance in place where should you shop to secure the most cost-effective policy in 2023?

In this article we review Tom life insurance exploring the pros and cons of their specialist ‘life insurance for dads’ service…

Why do dads need life insurance?

As a dad, you probably need some form of life insurance to ensure that your family are financially protected should anything happen to you.

It’s a very sad fact that a child loses a parent every 22 minutes in the UK[1], yet 12% of dads still don’t have any form of life cover.

If your family were to lose you and your income, could they keep up with the following costs:

•       Mortgage or rental payments?

•       Household bills/utilities?

•       Childcare or education fees?

•       Outstanding debts in your name (credit cards, car finance or personal loans)

•       Funeral costs?

Life insurance can be taken out to help cover these costs and relieve financial worry for your loved ones during an already stressful time.

The proceeds could also be used as an inheritance in the future, helping your children or even grandchildren with university fees or getting on the property ladder.

Who are Tom life insurance?

Tom, also referred to tom.co.uk, are a life insurance broker that specialises in arranging life insurance for dads here in the UK.

They provide a completely free service that helps you to source life insurance quotes from a panel of FCA regulated providers.

Since forming in 2015, Tom has sold more than 50,000 policies to dads across the country.

Who owns Tom life insurance?

Tom.co.uk is owned and operated by Candid Insurance Service Ltd, an FCA regulated life insurance company based in Bristol.

Candid was established in 2013 and acquired the Tom and Polly brands in 2018 from AGT Media, growing these significantly since then.

In 2023, they launched their own life insurance and serious illness products aimed at mums and dads, which are underwritten by iptiQ.

Tom life insurance reviews

Is Tom life insurance any good?

At the time of writing this review, Tom life insurance has an average rating of ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot from 2,301 customer reviews.

87% of reviews rated the company at 5 stars and only 6% rated 1 star. Suggesting that, according to their customers, Tom.co.uk is a very credible company.

Tom life insurance adverts

Tom.co.uk mainly uses influencer marketing to promote their service and raise awareness of life insurance to parents in the UK.

Maybe you have seen one of their ads on TV, social media or YouTube?

The company has worked with a long list of British celebrities including:

•       Tyson Fury

•       Ronan Keating

•       Joey Essex

•       Brian McFadden

•       Professor Green

•       Jeff Brazier

•       Duncan James

•       John Hartson

•       Neil Ruddock

How much is Tom Life Insurance?

The cost of Tom life insurance depends on your personal circumstances and the policy you choose (level term, decreasing term, joint cover or single policy).

Insurers will take into account the following details in order to calculate your monthly premium:

•       Age

•       Health and wellbeing

•       Medical history/family medical history

•       Whether you smoke

•       Weight/BMI

•       Occupation

•       Policy type

•       Cover amount

•       Cover length (term)

Life insurance premiums increase as you get older, so it’s important to take out a policy sooner rather than later to get the best deal.

The most effective way of finding the cheapest cover is to compare multiple quotes, as costs can vary wildly between providers.

You can do this for free through Tom or alternatively, you could use a non-advised FCA-regulated broker like Reassured.co.uk. They are the UK’s largest broker and have created this comprehensive Reassured: life insurance for dads article which may also be of interest.

How to buy Tom life insurance

This is how you can buy life insurance through Tom:

1.      Complete the free online quote form

2.      Get a call from an FCA authorised agent

3.      Discuss your requirements and the different policy types available

4.      Choose your policy with help from the agent

5.      Answer some questions about your health and lifestyle

6.      The agent will work out your monthly premium and provide quotes

It’s a similar process to buying life insurance through Reassured, except they can also offer you the option to buy life insurance online, without talking to an agent.

Tom life insurance contact number

If you need to contact Tom about your life insurance, then their contact details are as follows:

920 Hempton Court
Aztec West
West Almondsbury
Bristol
BS32 4SR

Contact number: 0808 175 2244

Email: [email protected]

Who are Polly life insurance?

While Tom.co.uk is marketed to sell life insurance to UK dads, Polly.co.uk is marketed to sell life insurance mums. The service is effectively the same, however it is packaged to appeal specifically to mums.

Polly has also worked with an array of celebrities in order to promote their service, including Hollyoaks actress Jorgie Porter and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

Since 2015, Polly.co.uk has sold over 750,000 policies and has more than 4,500 customer reviews on Trustpilot with an overall rating of ‘Excellent’.

Tom life insurance review summary

Tom.co.uk is a legitimate FCA regulated company and could help you compare life insurance quotes from a network of UK insurers.

Although, it’s not clear which insurers they work with or which policies they have available, except for the ones we’ve described above.

Regardless of how you secure your cover, it is imperative to shop around to compare quotes to identify the best available deal. This is especially true for so many families during these tough economic times.

Life insurance is there for a worst-case scenario and acts as a safety blanket. It is one of those things which many of us don’t think we will ever need; however, it could end up being the best investment you ever make.

If you are in early adulthood and healthy you could secure approximately £200,000 of cover for 20p a day.

So why not seize the day, secure your loved one’s future and get on with enjoying life safe in the knowledge that your finances are all in order?

[1] https://www.childbereavementuk.org/death-bereavement-statistics

Coparenting & Relationships

The Role of Mediation in Co-parenting After a Toxic Relationship: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the aftermath of a toxic relationship can be challenging, particularly when children are involved. In the quest to provide a stable, loving environment for your children, co-parenting becomes a necessary but sometimes difficult journey. One of the most effective strategies for easing this process is through mediation. This comprehensive guide will explore the role of mediation in co-parenting after a toxic relationship.

Understanding Mediation in the Context of Co-parenting

Mediation is a form of conflict resolution that involves a neutral third party – the mediator. The mediator’s role is to facilitate open communication between the two parties, helping them find common ground and make decisions that benefit all parties involved, especially the children. This process is particularly helpful in the context of co-parenting after a toxic relationship, where communication may be strained, and emotions might run high.

The Importance of Mediation in Co-parenting

Why is mediation so essential in co-parenting after a toxic relationship? Let’s look at some of the key reasons:

  1. Improved Communication: Mediation provides a neutral platform for both parties to voice their concerns and needs. The mediator helps structure these conversations, promoting respectful and effective communication, which is crucial for successful co-parenting.
  2. Child-Centred Decisions: The mediator ensures that the child’s best interest is always at the forefront of all discussions and decisions. This approach helps parents shift from their conflict to focusing on their child’s needs.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Mediation aids in resolving disputes about child-rearing decisions, visitation schedules, and other contentious issues. It helps create a more peaceful environment for the children.
  4. Long-term Co-parenting Plan: Mediation can help create a comprehensive co-parenting plan. This plan includes day-to-day responsibilities, special occasions, dispute resolution processes, and any other elements that are necessary for smooth co-parenting.

How Mediation Works in Co-parenting

Mediation sessions usually involve both parents and the mediator. The process may vary depending on individual circumstances, but a typical mediation process involves the following steps:

Introduction:
The mediator explains the process, rules, and goals of mediation.

Sharing Perspectives:
Each parent has a chance to share their views and concerns without interruption.

Discussion:
The mediator facilitates a discussion, helping both parents to understand each other’s perspectives and to identify and prioritize issues that need to be resolved.

Negotiation:
Both parents, with the help of the mediator, work on finding common ground and compromises on the issues identified.

Agreement:
Once an agreement is reached, the mediator drafts it. After reviewing and signing, this document can serve as a roadmap for co-parenting.

The Benefits of Mediation in Co-parenting After a Toxic Relationship

The benefits of mediation in co-parenting after a toxic relationship are numerous:

Reduced Conflict:
By providing a neutral space for negotiation, mediation can significantly reduce conflict and tension between co-parents.

Control Over Decisions:
Unlike court decisions, mediation allows parents to have control over decisions affecting their children’s lives.

Improved Relationships:
Mediation can help improve the overall co-parenting relationship by establishing effective communication patterns and reducing hostility.

Children’s Well-being:
By reducing conflict and promoting cooperative co-parenting, mediation helps to foster a more stable and positive environment for the children.

Choosing a Mediator:
Choosing the right mediator is crucial. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

Experience and Training:
Look for a mediator who has specialized training and experience in divorce and family mediation.

Neutrality:
The mediator should be neutral and unbiased. They should not take sides but focus on facilitating productive discussions between both parents.

Approach and Philosophy:
Understand the mediator’s approach and philosophy towards co-parenting and mediation. Make sure it aligns with your values and expectations.

Fees:
Understand their fee structure. Some mediators charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour.

What to Expect in Co-parenting Mediation:
Coming into mediation, it’s important to be prepared for the process. Here’s what you can expect:

Preparation:
Before you start, gather all necessary documents and think through what you want for your children. It’s also helpful to prepare yourself emotionally.

Multiple Sessions:
Mediation usually takes place over several sessions. Each session typically lasts about one to two hours

Cooperation and Compromise:
Mediation is about finding common ground, which often involves compromises. Be ready to listen, understand, and work cooperatively with your ex-partner for the best interests of your children.

Confidentiality:
What’s said in mediation stays in mediation. It’s a safe space to express your concerns, needs, and expectations.

Legal Advice:
Mediators do not provide legal advice. It’s recommended to consult with a lawyer during the mediation process to understand the legal implications of your decisions.

After Mediation: Co-parenting Successfully
Once the mediation process is complete, and a co-parenting plan is in place, the focus shifts to implementing the plan effectively. Here are a few tips to co-parent successfully after a toxic relationship:

Respect the Co-parenting Plan:
The co-parenting plan is there for a reason. Both parents should respect the plan and adhere to it.

Communicate Effectively:
Remember the communication skills learned during mediation. Use these skills to communicate effectively with your ex-partner.

Stay Child-Focused:
Always prioritize your children’s needs and well-being. Any decision or action should be based on what’s best for them.

Seek Support:
Co-parenting after a toxic relationship can be challenging. Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, support groups, or a professional counsellor.

Practice Self-Care:
Taking care of your mental and physical health is crucial. It allows you to be the best parent you can be for your children.

In conclusion, mediation plays a vital role in co-parenting after a toxic relationship. It helps establish a groundwork for effective communication, reduces conflict, and ensures the best interests of the child are prioritized. For more insights into co-parenting after a toxic relationship, check out our previous article on “Co-parenting after a toxic relationship: Strategies and Tips“.

By understanding and utilizing mediation, you can transition from a toxic relationship to a successful co-parenting partnership, creating a stable, loving environment for your children to thrive in. Remember, it’s not the separation, but the conflict that can harm children. Through effective mediation, that conflict can be managed and minimized, ensuring the well-being of your children.

Coparenting & Relationships

Co-Parenting After a Toxic Relationship: A Guide to Positive Parenting

Co-parenting after a toxic relationship can be a mountainous task filled with emotional turmoil and practical challenges. However, for parents committed to the well-being of their children, it’s a necessary path. This comprehensive guide seeks to help parents navigate this difficult journey, offering strategies for maintaining effective communication, setting boundaries, and prioritizing the child’s emotional health.

Understanding the Challenge

Embarking on the journey of co-parenting after a toxic relationship often feels like an uphill battle. It’s not merely about sharing responsibilities but handling lingering negative emotions, unresolved conflicts, and potential communication breakdowns. It’s a delicate balancing act, requiring you to detach from the painful past while working together for your child’s future.

The root of the challenge lies in the nature of toxic relationships. They leave emotional scars, foster mistrust, and create an environment of negativity. Carrying these burdens into your co-parenting arrangement can complicate matters, making it harder to focus on your child’s needs. But remember, your goal is to foster a healthy environment for your child to grow, and this goal must overshadow the complications of the past.

Setting Boundaries

One crucial step in co-parenting after a toxic relationship is setting clear, healthy boundaries. These boundaries aren’t about keeping score or limiting the other parent’s involvement, but rather about protecting your personal space and emotional health. They also play a critical role in preventing old issues from creeping into your new parenting arrangement.

Setting boundaries may entail deciding on specific pick-up and drop-off times, limiting communication to necessary topics related to your child, or delineating what topics are off-limits for discussion. The key is to be clear about your needs without infringing on the other parent’s rights or the child’s needs. When both parents understand and respect these boundaries, the co-parenting arrangement can function more smoothly.

Effective Communication

Communication, the cornerstone of any relationship, becomes even more critical when co-parenting after a toxic relationship. It may be challenging to maintain open lines of communication when there is a history of pain and conflict, but for the sake of your child, it’s essential.

Try to use neutral language to avoid triggering old arguments. Focus on your child’s needs during discussions and keep personal issues separate. It’s also crucial to be clear, concise, and consistent in your communication. This approach can help reduce misunderstandings and keep the focus on the well-being of your child.

In some situations, direct communication might be too fraught with tension. In these cases, consider using technology to help. Numerous co-parenting apps offer platforms for messaging, scheduling, and sharing essential child-related information. This can help maintain necessary communication while providing a record of correspondence.

In particularly challenging situations, seeking the help of a professional mediator might be beneficial. They can facilitate conversations, help resolve disputes, and keep the focus on the child’s best interests.

Prioritizing the Child’s Emotional Health

The emotional fallout of a toxic relationship can cast a long shadow, and children often bear the brunt of it. Feelings of confusion, sadness, or anxiety are common in children after their parents separate. As co-parents, it’s your responsibility to help them navigate these challenging emotions.

Regularly engage in open, honest conversations with your child, ensuring they feel seen, heard, and understood. Encourage them to express their feelings and reassure them that it’s okay to feel upset or confused. Keep them informed about changes in a way they can understand, and reassure them of your love and support.

It’s crucial to avoid badmouthing the other parent in front of your child

as this can increase their stress and negatively impact their relationship with both parents. Remember, your child’s relationship with their other parent is independent of your relationship with your ex-partner. Encouraging a healthy bond with both parents can play a crucial role in your child’s emotional well-being.

In some cases, seeking professional help can be beneficial. Child psychologists or counsellors can provide a safe space for your child to express their feelings and learn coping strategies. Additionally, they can offer valuable guidance to parents about managing their child’s emotional needs during this challenging time.

Creating a Co-Parenting Plan

A well-thought-out co-parenting plan can be an invaluable tool in navigating post-separation parenting. This plan should outline each parent’s responsibilities, define custody schedules, and establish protocols for decision-making and resolving disputes. The goal is to create a structured environment that reduces uncertainties and potential areas of conflict.

When drafting a co-parenting plan, it’s crucial to consider the child’s needs and preferences. This includes their school schedule, extracurricular activities, social events, and even downtime. It’s also important to include provisions for holidays, vacations, and special occasions, which can often be points of contention.

A flexible yet detailed co-parenting plan can help both parents understand their roles and responsibilities. It provides a roadmap that helps navigate co-parenting after a toxic relationship, with the child’s well-being at its centre. Remember, the plan may need to be revised as circumstances change and your child grows. Flexibility is key to successful co-parenting.

Seeking Support

Co-parenting after a toxic relationship can be a demanding and isolating experience. It’s important to remember that seeking support during this challenging time is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of strength. This support could come in various forms – a support group for single parents, a counselor, or trusted friends and family.

Support groups can offer a sense of community and understanding that friends or family may not be able to provide. They can also offer practical advice and resources to help you navigate co-parenting challenges.

Professional help in the form of counselling or therapy can also be beneficial. Professionals can provide strategies for managing stress, improving communication, and dealing with unresolved feelings related to the toxic relationship.

Conclusion

Co-parenting after a toxic relationship is undoubtedly challenging, but with patience, resilience, and a child-focused approach, it can be a successful endeavour. By setting boundaries, communicating effectively, prioritizing your child’s emotional health, and seeking support, you can navigate this journey in a healthy and positive way.

Remember, every family is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Stay patient, flexible, and open-minded in your co-parenting approach. After all, your unwavering commitment and love for your child are the most significant driving forces behind successful co-parenting. Here’s to fostering positivity and growth, even in the wake of difficult circumstances.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse
Parenthood, Parenting Hacks & Tips, Reviews

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Review: What you need to know

The Kidkraft Majestic Mansion dollhouse is the ultimate doll house, guaranteed to put a smile on your child’s face. The Majestic Mansion oozes quality with its wooden finish and high-quality accessories.

Evie has now owned hers for a whole year and she still enjoys playing with it as much as ever. 

I can’t recommend this product enough. 

Still not sure? That’s what we’re here for! This KidKraft Majestic Mansion review will tell you all you need to know.

You can pick yours up from Amazon for around £99. 

About the Doll House (The technical stuff) 

The fully assembled dolls house comes to about four and a half feet tall. The exact measurements 132.1cm x 35.5 cm x 135.9cm – It’s huge! 

To put it into perspective, Evie needs a step to be able to see into the baby doll’s attic room, which means she’ll be able to get plenty of use out of it over the next few years. 

Because of its size, there’s easily space for more than one child to play with it side by side too.

The house comes with 34 pieces of well-crafted wooden furniture including a piano, grandfather clock, bed, bedside tables and lots more. We regularly play ‘moving house’, a simple game that involves removing all of the furniture and putting it back in its new place somewhere else in the house.

There are eight rooms are spread across four floors and perhaps most impressive of all is the working life for the dolls to move between levels. 

The house is designed for fashion dolls. It’s perfect for ‘12 inch dolls’, which is the standard Barbie or equivalent brand size. It has a real Barbie Dreamhouse feel about it, making it a great choice for little girls.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse

Putting the KidKraft Majestic Mansion together 

Although it took a little bit of time to put together, around three hours in total (although we took our time), assembling the dolls house was nice and straightforward. 

There were numbered stickers on every separate piece and the instructions were nice and clear. 

Having somebody else to help you will make life a lot easier to hold bits together, as balancing everything can be quite tricky and you might risk causing damage if it falls over.

The dolls house comes with wall fixings and I would strongly advise you to not waste any time in fixing it to the wall. Because the house is tall, Evie has tried on a few occasions to pull herself a little higher to see the attic, which of course means that she places all her weight at the top.

That terrifies me but is easily prevented.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Dollhouse

Build Quality 

The Kidkraft Mansion is surprisingly well-built. 

I really like how the panels are already pre-covered with nice little prints, which clearly and easily signify what each room is surprised to be – Evie’s favourite has to be the living room for sure! 

For me, what stands out on the Majestic Mansion is the great level of attention they’ve paid to the little details throughout the house.

The garage doors open and close nicely and can fit Evie’s Barbie car in it perfectly. The little pieces of wooden furniture look great; I particularly love the piano! 

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Overview

I bought the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion dollhouse for Evie a year ago now and it’s been a mainstay of our playroom ever since. It’s perfect for dolls up to 12 inches, like Barbies or equivalent fashion dolls. It has a straightforward assembly process and is big enough for multiple kids to play at the same time when they’ve got friends over.

One of Evie’s favourite features is the working elevator, which allows your to take your dolls to the second floor, or the wooden garage doors that open and close to reveal a space large enough to store things like your Barbie car in the garage!

The lovely design and sturdy build quality mean that it makes for a lovely feature in the room and as a daddy, just gives me such a lovely feeling every time we go in there to play. 

For me, parenting is all about creating memories for your kids. You never know quite what will stick and what will be forgotten. 

Whether she remembers it or not as she grows up, I know that I’ll never forget the look on Evie’s face the moment she first saw the dollhouse. 

It’s something that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life. 

You can watch the moment she saw it for the first time below. 

So all-in-all, the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion dollhouse is an excellent house that’s well-priced, well-made and now…well-played with. 

You can get this perfect wooden dolls house here

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Some of the common questions about the KidKraft Majestic Mansion: 

Does the dollhouse come with decorations and stickers?
Yes, every room is nicely decorated with pre-installed stickers allowing for just the right amount of customization. 

Which dolls should I use for it? 
The dollhouse is designed for 12-inch dolls like Barbies or LOLs. 

Does the dollhouse come flat-packed?
Yes, the dollhouse comes flat-packed in a box weighing 29kg and measuring 104cm x 62cm x 24cm. Assembly took a few hours.

Does the price include furniture for the dollhouse?
You’ll get 34 pieces of furniture included when you order the dollhouse, including things like a kitchen table, a bed, a cot and much more.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Accessories
KidKraft Majestic Mansion Piano

Reviews

Honest Mobile Review: What’s the honest verdict?

Full disclosure: We were paid by Honest Mobile to provide a totally honest review of their mobile phone plan, warts and all. That’s exactly what we did.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might remember our review of Smol laundry and dishwasher tablets from earlier this year. In that post, we took a deep dive into the latest sustainable offering to hit the market and assessed whether it was a case of ‘clothes washing’ or ‘green washing’.

See what I did there?

Well, Honest are the newcomers on the block in the mobile phone plan space, claiming that they’re ‘reinventing mobile for you and the planet’ as the only carbon negative mobile network. They reached out and sent me one of their sims to try.

Let’s get cracking.

Who are Honest Mobile?

I don’t know about you, but when challenger banks like ‘Starling Bank’ and ‘Monzo’ came along, I couldn’t have jumped ship from my old bank, which I’d been with since I was 11, quick enough. I’ve never looked back.

Over the last decade, the banking and energy industries respectively have gone through something of a transformation, bringing together technology with a more customer-focused approach – gone are the days of sitting for hours on hold on a poorly support telephone line.

We expect better.

What’s this got to do with a mobile phone company you ask? They claim to be doing the same for the mobile phone industry.

Taking a completely mobile-first approach to, well, mobile phone plan management, they aim to put control into the hands of their users. We’ll delive into that later.

Are Honest Mobile Environmentally Friendly?

Here’s a scary statistic for you: The tech industry makes up 3.7% of all greenhouse gases, a figure which is expected to double by 2025. They reckon state that ‘by 2040 communication technology will account for 14% of the global environmental footprint’.

In my day job, I’m the Head of Marketing for a sustainable energy company that harvests the sun’s energy through solar farms and redistributes that energy into electric car charging infrastructure across the UK.

I’m passionate about creating a sustainable future for my children. Last year I wrote last year about how my family were taking active steps to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

I love that Honest Mobile are taken active steps to help its members take an interest in their carbon footprint.

They do this by:

  • Offseting and capturing CO2 through their investments in afforestation, biochar and direct air capture
  • Tracking your phone’s carbon footprint so you can see the positive impact you’rehaving
  • Donating 1% of your bill to reforestation projects as part of their mission to plant 1 million trees
Smartphone Carbon Footprint

Ordering your Honest Mobile SIM

The process of ordering your new SIM couldn’t be easier.

You can choose from either 30 day rolling plans or 12 month contracts which, at the time of writing this review, start from £12.15 per month.

Personally, I like the freedom of not being tied in to a contract and I use a lot of data because I share my hotspot plant with my daughter, Evie so she can stream on her iPad when we’re in the car for extended periods of time.

Honest Mobile offers a range of plans to suit your needs over 30 day rolling or 12 month contracts

Once you’ve chosen your plan, you can order your free sim by dropping your email address and then some delivery information and payment details.

The process is all rather painless.

All I had to do next was download the app, which I’ll talk about later in this review.



One thing I really liked was how Honest asked me whether I’d like to transfer my phone number. Once I selected ‘Yes’, they let me easily choose when I’d like that switch to happen.

I chose to swap my number the day the SIM arrives.

Your SIM is sent first class and mine arrived a few days after I ordered it.

In fact, mine took longer than promised, but that’s because the Royal Mail deliveries in my area have been suffering a staff shortage recently due to COVID. When I checked in via the Help section of the Honest app, the response was immediate and they were super helpful…kudos.

The SIM packaging was lovely and definitely had a premium, well-thought-out feel to it.

I just popped out the SIM card and started the setup.

What’s the Honest Mobile App Like?

The Honest Mobile app is easy to find and, at the time of writing, has 4.6 out of 5 stars from 18 reviews.

Solid.

The app preview screen was clear and easy to follow, putting you immediately at ease when it comes to downloading it.

I downloaded the Honest app on Apple iOS and began the registration process. It started well, the process was easy to follow and they recognised that my email address had already been registered for an account.

As I hadn’t yet set a password, I clicked to request a new one…

The process fell down a little there and although Honest told me a new code had been sent, it didn’t tell me where: Email or phone.

After an hour and a half, I received the code and was able to register my account.

Top tip: If you don’t receive your email code right away, be patient…It will come through eventually.

What’s the Honest Mobile App Like?

Before you go any further, you’ll need to download the Honest Mobile app.

The links are here:
iOS
Android

The app is easy to find and, at the time of writing, has 4.6 out of 5 stars from 18 reviews.

Solid.

The app preview screen was clear and easy to follow, putting you immediately at ease when it comes to downloading it.

I downloaded the Honest app on Apple iOS and began the registration process. It started well, the process was easy to follow and they recognised that my email address had already been registered for an account.

As I hadn’t yet set a password, I clicked to request a new one…

The process fell down a little there and although Honest told me a new code had been sent, it didn’t tell me where: Email or phone.

After an hour and a half, I received the code and was able to register my account.

Top tip: If you don’t receive your email code right away, be patient…It will come through eventually.

How Easy is Setting Up My New Sim?

The setup is incredibly easy. Once you’ve fired up the app, you’ll be guided through a few questions on porting your number (if you so choose) and then you’re good to go!

How does Honest Mobile’s pricing compare to other plans on the market?

If you’re looking for the lowest price, Honest Mobile probably isn’t it. A quick Google search showed 30 day rolling contracts with unlimited data, the equivalent to what I received from Honest Mobile, starting at just £10.00 per month with Asda Mobile.

Screenshot captured from MoneySuperMarket in December 2021

That said, you would be subject to download speed throttling. At a maximum speed of 2mbps, you’d be looking set for very basic activities like checking social media or browsing the web, but not much else.

As social media moves increasingly towards a video-first approach, you’ll find it cuts the mustard even less in 2022.

Smarty and Lebara also offered unlimited data 30 day contracts are around the £15-£16 mark too.

How do I Transfer My Phone Number?

Transferring your phone number to your new sim is super easy.

Honest talk about this on their website, but the process looks like this:

  • Order your sim card
  • Download the Honest App and transfer your number using your PAC code
  • Activate your SIM
I followed this process when my new SIM arrived. First, I texted PAC to 65705 to get my PAC number, and then all I had do to was enter the number in the Honest Mobile app.

The switchover process took about two days in total, but was incredibly easy.

What’s Honest Mobile’s Data Signal like?

Honest Mobile sits on Three’s network. I’ve been on Three’s network with other providers in the past and have always found the pretty solid in the South of the UK.

There are a few ways you can double-check what the coverage is like in your area.

The Verdict

Honest Mobile claim to be the mobile network that is ‘helping you do your bit for the planet’. Although they definitely aren’t the cheapest provider on the market, their ethics, solid network coverage and easy-to-use app offer great value for money.

Something I felt really set these guys apart from the rest was the customer service support. Response times were blisteringly quick and, when I had trouble dealing with transferring my phone number over, they had all the answers straight away.

If you’ve never looked at Honest Mobile before, I strongly recommend you give them a try. Just head to https://honestmobile.co.uk/plans to get your sim.

Lifestyle & Adventures

Christmas is over, already.

When I was growing up, I never appreciated just how much work my mum put into making Christmas a magical experience. As children, we kind of think it all just…happens, right?

How wrong I was.

Since separating from Evie’s mum, I’ve always felt pressure to deliver a magical Christmas for my daughter.

It’s not that I view it as a competition.

I’m just mindful that I don’t want Evie to be disappointed when she comes to my house.

This year was also the first Christmas we spent with Rosie, Tilly and Liza – our first blended family Christmas.

Christmas Eve without the Kids 😢

Rosie and I have similar Christmas and New Year arrangements with our exes, which in some ways makes life a little easier.

We alternate each year, which means we’ll either have them from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day or from Christmas Day to the 27th or 28th, depending on how the days fall.

This year, Rosie and I spent Christmas Eve at our house with my step-dad, Paul. We spent the evening getting the house ready for them to come over, drinking mulled wine and watching movies.

It was lovely, but not the same.

One of the hardest times of the year as a separated parent is not putting mince pies in the evening.

That sounds daft, right?

It’s meaningful to me because, although it’s only a token gesture, represents all of that amazing build-up before the big day.

Christmas Day with the Kids 😁

Christmas Day came and the house was quiet…too quiet. We both counted the minutes until we could go and get the kids.

Off we went and amazingly, we arrived home at almost exactly the same time.

After our Christmas dinner, we started unwrapping presents.

It was chaos.

I loved it.

There’s nothing more magical than seeing the excitement on the children’s faces as they open presents.

Evie has a tendency to shout at the top of her voice what the present is as she realises, which is so cute.

The children went to bed very happy, which is what it’s all about.

Over for another year

Christmas 2021 really was such a beautiful day this year.

Our hearts are full and our house is wrecked.

The way it should be.

Merry Christmas.

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