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Keeping kids entertained over the summer can cost a small fortune, especially if you have more than one. Working with BettaLiving, the fitted kitchen retailer we were offered the opportunity to turn the tables on expensive summer activities while still enjoying oodles of fun in the hub of the home.

Apparently keeping a child occupied over the summer holiday can cost anywhere between £1000 and £1600 (not in our house it doesn’t, this must be a national average) however we’ve definitely found the summer to be more costly that any other time, especially when the weather is dire. With research showing that on average the number of days it rains in the UK in July is 14, or one in three, having activities planned to keep little ones occupied during wet weather is a must. As it turns out for much of July we were in a heatwave and while we enjoyed some outdoor days, garden fun and the usual fresh air activities there were days when it was simply too hot to be outside and when delicate skin needed a break from the rays!

To keep us going over through the rainy (and the hot) days BettaLiving sent us a #kidsinthekitchen box packed full of activities which we could use to keep the boys occupied. The maximum cost of the box was £50 and the contents….. what fun! Twenty different activities (see more on each here), many which could be used time and time again have not simply been time fillers, they have been fabulous fun activities in their own right.


Just some of the goodies in the Kids In The Kitchen box!

Research included in the kit also showed that children tend to lose as much as two months worth of skill, or 25% of the school year during the summer. These activities are all based on fun as well as encouraging the retention of these skills and the information supplied came with expert comment from Naomi Richards, author of “The Parent’s Toolkit” on how each activity offer the kids something both fun and skill-based.

Having tested the majority of the activities at least once and still having one or two left to enjoy we can safely say that BettaLiving have hit the nail on the head with this campaign. Not only has each activity been fabulously fun, they have provided hours of skill-based activities which are extremely frugal to say the least. We’ve made ice lollies (and Angel Delight lollies), played indoor ten pin bowling, made marshmallow structures, grown and harvested cress for our sandwiches, decorated spoons and enjoyed making up plays with them and much more. In the last week of the holidays now we still have Weetabix Jenga, pizza making and a volcanic experiment to enjoy.

Have a look at the BettaLiving activities and our photos below, they are sure to give you lots of inspiration for future frugal holidays, half-terms and very day play!
Thanks BettaLiving, we have thoroughly enjoy our Kids in the Kitchen experience!

To keep up with everything else BettaLiving are doing as well as great offers and kitchen design find them on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


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I’ve written in the past about how important I feel it is for us as parents to teach our children about financial matters. At this stage, with my children being 3yrs and 8yrs we have limited this pretty much to savings, not buying on credit and choosing carefully what you spend your money on.

Our next stage will at some point be to talk to the boys about more in-depth financial matters. Growing up we didn’t get “proper” financial education at school (unless paying a pound a week into the school bank counts?) and so we’ve been firmly behind Martin Lewis’ campaign to introduce financial education as part of the national curriculum.

Roy and I firmly believe that it is up to us to teach the boys as they grow about the importance of pensions, protecting your identity and financial information and of knowing and understanding your credit rating. As with all things with financial matters if you have a good grounding before you are thrown out into the world where all the temptations of credit products and spend now worry later options exist you will be better placed to make smarter decisions.

We wish that we’d known more about pension plans, investments and insurances when we were younger as our “pots” which are supposed to tide us over when we are older would be a lot fuller than they currently are. With so many products available now, never mind when the boys are older it makes sense to know what you want or at the very least how to find out about what you want and need from a reputable source.

Places like the credit expert website offer an easy to use to tool to help you navigate your credit rating, to fix any errors and to learn more about how you may improve it. While we believe saving up for things before you buy them is important credit does play a part in modern life, with things like car finance and of course mortgages being effected by how well or poor your credit rating appears. We plan to teach the boys the fundamentals of financial planning and ensure that before they are thrust out into the big bad world to function independently that they also understand where to go for help and advice for financial matters.

The old saying goes that money can’t buy you happiness and of course there are more important things however money can buy you security, opportunities, freedom to pursue your interests and ensure that no matter what happens in your life that you are covered so to speak. We have plans and we have products in place to ensure that our kids will be fine, no matter what happens to us and all that we want is for them to have the same peace of mind.

What do you plan to teach your kids about finance and their future? I’d love to know. I really think such matters being covered in school in the future will be an amazing improvement on what is offered now however still believe that it is up to us as their parents to reinforce what they learn and ensure that it is adequate.

Kieran is already a keen saver and we hope to encourage him to extend this into pensions and investments when he is a little older, as well as building an awareness of what a credit rating is and why it matters for himself and his brother.

Kieran is already a keen saver and we hope to encourage him to extend this into pensions and investments when he is a little older, as well as building an awareness of what a credit rating is and why it matters for himself and his brother.

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