Married life after the big day — what are the costs that lie ahead?

There’s a lot of hype in the run-up to a wedding day, it takes years and years of planning- I should know, we’ve been engaged for nearly six years! But what’s next when the vows are said and the day is done? Married life — and it can be costly! Together with Angelic Diamonds, retailers of engagement rings, lets take a look at the costs that you’ll face after the wedding day, from starting a family to moving to a bigger home.

Starting a family

Having children is usually the next big step after marriage. The average time a couple waits between getting married and having a baby is three years in the US and this can be costly. What can you expect to face after pregnancy?

Including nappies, clothing, nursery furniture, toys, and a pram, the cost of a baby can total £3,120 in the first year of their life alone. If you plan on attending activity classes with your new-born, such as sensory or swimming classes, you could face an additional annual cost of £465.50. I’ve never done too many classes when the kids were really small but it really does all add up. 

Feeding your baby will also cost – depending on what you use.. Add £165 to this yearly cost if you plan on breastfeeding, or a whopping £1,040 should you opt for bottle feeding. Expenses for childcare also need to be considered if you choose to go back to work after maternity leave. For a relatively well-off couple in the UK, the cost of childcare is the highest in the world. In Britain, the average cost of sending a child under two to part-time day nursery is £122.46 per week. For full-time care, this rises to £232.84. Obviously your location in the UK has an influence on how much you pay — part-time day nursery can cost around £42 more per week in London than the British average and full-time care increases by £73 in the capital.

When first born, heir first day at school can seem a long way off. But, if you are considering sending your child to a private school, you must consider the average annual outgoing of £14,102 – crazy prices!.  At the age of ten, it’s likely that they’ll be asking for their first smartphone like all their friends have! As you’ll most likely be the one to pay for this, you can expect to fork out around £27 per month — or £324 per year!

This is before you add the cost of an average holiday (£3,133 for a family of four) and those Christmas and birthday presents! Very costly indeed.

Upsizing into a bigger home

After the wedding, you might start to think about moving into a bigger home so you’ll face some extra costs when you do decide to make the move.

According to Compare My Move, the estimated cost of moving to a new house in 2018 in the UK is £8,885. This cost is based on the average UK property price which is currently at £226,071 and takes into considerations stamp duty at £2,021, estate agent expenses at £3,391. This overall cost also considers general moving costs, which can add up to £1,236.66. You also need to consider a few hidden costs if selling a house. One of these is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which can cost you between £60 and £120. It can often be worthwhile getting a professional survey of your new property before you buy it to check the condition of it to prevent you from losing out on money. These can cost from £400 to over £1,000 depending on the survey that you choose.

Getting a new car

Perhaps you now want to swap that convertible for a more family-appropriate car – it’s up to you how much you spend on a new car, but you should expect it to set you back a few pounds! In fact, the running costs of an average family car in the UK costs £1,000 more than in the USA and Australia, £1,825 more than Japan and £2,000 more than in China. Doesn’t this seem crazy? According to What Car? the top ten family used cars sit between £8,000 and £14,000. And, if you were to choose a top new car, you can expect a family-suitable vehicle to cost between £16,995 and £29,495.

If you’re unsure on how much to spend on a new car, MoneyUnder30 advise the following:

  • If you’re looking for a cheap car that gets you from A to B, you should budget around 10-15% of your annual income.
  • For a safer and reliable vehicle, budget between 20 and 25% of your annual income.
  • If you consider a car as a lifestyle item and not just as a form of transport, consider spending around 50% of your annual income on a car.

Even though strict saving might have temporarily paused when the wedding arrives, it’s likely you’ll have to dig deep again for the future! With starting a family, moving to a new house and buying a bigger car, married life can be expensive — but it’s so worth it!


CanvasChamp | Review & Giveaway

I do love a good canvas, you know that, right? I’ve got them dotted around the house – a picture of Jack as a newborn with myself and Steve, a beautiful picture of a sunset in Hastings that Steve took, one of Jack as a toddler. But nothing of the two kids together.

I have many pictures of my kids together, plenty that I absolutely adore, so it was hard to pick just one for a canvas. When offered the chance to review a canvas from CanvasChamp, I just knew I had to pick the perfect photo for it. CanvasChamp offer plenty of products from canvases, prints, plaques and photo pillows. I opted for a lovely photo of the kids with their hoods up in the winter in 16″ by 20″, currently available on the site for £19.94 – such an affordable price!

I was sent a code so I could create my product. The site was very easy to use and uploading the image and choosing size was very simple. There were plenty of options for how to have your canvas – you could add extras for an added price such as hooks or specific edging but I opted for the bare minimum. It is great that you can customise their products so much though, this is a fantastic addition to the site. I then clicked order and added in my details and my code – then patiently waited for my canvas to arrive.

Let me tell you, their delivery is faultless. The canvas was packaged perfectly to avoid any damage in transit and came in a matter of days – which is fantastic when you consider the time they need to spend making it and shipping it! The image looked absolutely perfect and I couldn’t wait to get it up on the wall. It has already had many compliments and people asking where I got it from – and they can’t believe the amazing price! Prices usually start at £153 for this canvas so that is one amazing saving!

I’ll definitely be ordering from them again and I’ve been telling everyone about them. Many of my friends love canvases of their family and with many new additions in my friends and family, plenty of them have been looking for places to get a canvas of their beautiful new family photos.

Now I know my readers are big canvas fans too so CanvasChamp have kindly offered a 10″X8″ canvas print for one lucky winner. Would you like to win? Then fill in the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway is UK only and ends at 23.59pm on the 31st of May 2018. Good luck!


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How the impact of technology can influence kids’ socialising abilities and fitness levels

From social media platforms to smart gadgets, kids all over the UK seem to be becoming more involved with technology. What effect is it having on them? 

Chill Factore offer lift passes, fun family days out, and skiing and snowboarding lessons for sports-fans of all ages and have decided to look into this issue and explore whether gadgets and technology really do influence our kids. Can it cause poor communication skills and reduced physical activity as some say or do they encourage and help our children? 

Apparently, UK households have approximately 18 smart devices! How crazy is that? I can think of six in our house – two smartphones, three tablets and a smart TV. Even that seems too much to me! The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) discovered that many homes have multiple TV sets, rather than only one that perhaps remains downstairs. We have two – one downstairs and one in our room (which used to be in Jack’s).

As of the end of 2017, 11.54 million households owned one television set, 8.66 million owned two television sets, 4.11 million owned three television sets and 1.75 million owned four television sets. Do we really need that many? Smart speakers, including Google Home and Microsoft’s Cortana, are becoming ever more popular in the UK. Research actually discovered that there was a 212% year-on-year increase of these gadgets across the world in in 2017, with the UK and US making up an approximate 89% of the market. Smart speakers are designed to provide fast and simple ways to attain information. Yes they can be handy and help with kids’ learning — but do they also eliminate the necessity or desire to explore ideas and topics in depth, and could this affect a child’s ability to discuss ideas with friends, face to face?  What do you think?

How technology influences children’s physical health  

It’s a well-worn argument that watching too much TV or playing too many online games impact negatively on physical health — but are there any positives regarding kids’ fitness and technology use? According to an Ofcom 2017 media use report, 53% of 3-4-year-olds go online for 8 hours a week, 79% of 5-7-year-olds go online for 9 hours a week, 94% of 8-11-year-olds go online for 13.5 hours a week, 99% of 12-15-year-olds go online for 21 hours a week. This is a big jump in both percentages and hours as we go up in age, is this because their internet time isn’t as regulated?

It shocks me that less than 10% of parents state that their children (aged between 5-16 years) participate in the one hour a day of physical activity, which is the amount that the government recommends. Is smart tech stopping them from doing this? It may be possible that technology is not entirely to blame. To explore this idea, we’ll look at the use of technology in previous generations. According to The World Health Organization, the amount of obese youths aged 5-19 years has risen tenfold in the past four decades. Although we could also accuse diet and education of playing a part in this worrying figure, technology should arguably also be held partially accountable, as its influence and use have clearly grown during this time frame. 

What positives are there for tech use by children though? There are many, actually. YouTube is a great platform for watching tutorial videos that can help kids practice a sport and there are consoles like Nintendo Wii which encourage physical movement. There are  also many child-friendly apps for everything from yoga to running that are created to help get kids active. Plus, many after-school sports clubs run Facebook and Twitter accounts to persuade kids surfing online to join. Jack’s after school sports club does this!.

How technology influences children’s social skills  

Social media platforms can help kids to maintain relationships with friends, while programs like Skype allow tutors to speak with pupils and carry out lessons in a virtual classroom. Smartphones are also good for helping kids stay in contact with their parents when they’re out, there’s no denying they have their uses.

Of course, with the news reports reading cyber bullying, many believe that using technology to socialise is a bad thing. Research conducted at Newcastle University discovered that primary school kids who watched up to three hours of TV a day were better communicators at secondary school. Watching more than three hours however was thought to lower linguistic skills. This research is a cause for concern as is the research that states 96% of 3-4-year-olds watch TV on a TV set for 15 hours a week, 95% of 5-7-year-olds watch TV on a TV set for 13.5 hours a week, 95% of 8-11-year-olds watch TV on a TV set for 14 hours a week and 91% of 12-15-year-olds watch TV on a TV set for 14.5 hours a week. Seems almost positive but this doesn’t include stuff such as YouTube!

So, what do medical experts think about technology use and how this can affect a child’s ability to speak with peers in a face-to-face environment? Child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York, Melissa Ortega, said that children use their phones as an “avoidance strategy” and can have trouble starting “those small talk situations”. Similarly, Dr. Jenny Radesky of Boston Medical Center, claimed that kids “learn by watching,” and suggested that if they aren’t taking part in physical socialisation, opting for screens instead, then they are not participating in crucial communication development stages.

Top ways you can encourage physical activity and social interaction in children

Technology is here to stay, so how do parents incorporate it safely into their children’s lives? Here are some tips on getting kids involved in activities to improve their fitness and social abilities:

  • Organise fun group activities to boost fitness and socialising — like the Chill Factore kids snow school.
  • Ban phones from the dinner table to encourage conversation.
  • Stop your child from taking their phones/tablets to bed. The blue light emitted from these devices harms sleep quality.
  • Start cycling or walking with your child to school.
  • Take your child and their friends to a sports venue regularly to help improve physical activity and socialising in one go.  
  • Arrange family hikes.
  • Find apps on your child’s phone that are designed to encourage physical activity.
  • Ask your child if they want to be involved in a school club. Whether it’s sports-based or not, it should still get them away from their screens and socialising.

It seems that technology has both pros and cons However, it will always be important to get active and make time for socialising. If not overused, your child should be fine to engage with technology on a daily basis, perhaps just limit your child’s time and adopt some of the above tips to make sure that technology doesn’t adversely affect your child’s social or physical development.

Want to help your kids get active? Plan a visit to Chill Factore in Manchester to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and other fun snow activities on the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope. Contact us today for more information.


Book Review | Befriended By Ruth O’Neill

eBook copy sent for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Let me preface this with a word of apology to the author – it has taken me a while to get round to reading this and is in fact only the second or third book I have read this year as I struggle to find the time to get any reading done around my freelance work, family and this blog. However once I picked up a copy of Befriended by Ruth O’Neill, I just couldn’t put it down.


Some secrets never leave us alone. . . Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right? After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart. Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her. Befriended is an exciting, contemporary thriller that will keep you on the very edge of your seat. This book will toy with your emotions time and time again – and keep you coming back for more.

My Review

Available at Amazon here {affiliate link}, Befriended tells the story of Gemma Peacock and what happens once Indiana Manors comes into her life. Grieving after the death of her beloved, perhaps even perfect husband, Ritchie and still young herself, Gemma struggles to find herself in the months after her death and Indiana comes into her life just when she needs people – little does she know Indiana is there to destroy her.

The character of Gemma is well written, you feel for her and you can’t help but root for her as she always tries to do her best by people. Indiana is extremely well written – you think you know what her intentions are and almost hate her – but you can’t quite hate her. Underneath the facade is a scared, unhappy little girl and the readers get somewhat of a sense of that – although the way she goes about things leaves you disgusted with her the majority of the time.

Every time you think Gemma has got away before Indiana completely destroys her, she somehow ends up back in the fold again and you are left wondering what is going to happen eventually. I must admit I did not see the massive twist coming and did reread those pages in shock and wonder at how the author managed to keep it from us for so long. The way the novel was resolved at the end was also pretty perfect, I thought – a great way to end the story and let some characters begin new stories of their own.

There was only one character that I was kind of indifferent to and that was Gemma’s best friend Maria. Perhaps she was written that way for a purpose but she seemed somewhat a little too overbearing when Gemma was grieving but oh so quick to believe newbie Indiana that Gemma had said certain things – before jumping into being fairly overbearing again. Whilst Gemma and Indiana’s friendship wasn’t healthy in the slightest due to the latter’s intentions to destroy the former, I can’t help but think Gemma and Maria’s friendship was too healthy either!

However, this was a fantastic read and I just couldn’t put it down. I have many friends who I know will enjoy this novel so will be recommending it to them. Have you read it yet?

Win A One Month Supply of Proceive Fertility Supplement

Proceive is a new fertility supplement, which has just launched in the UK, having launched in Ireland in March 2017 and is designed to support the nutritional deficiencies associated with trying for a baby. Developed by fertility experts and tailored to support the specific nutrient needs of each gender, the PROCEIVE® range contains ingredients that can help to support nutritional deficiencies associated with conception. The range also includes a MAX option specifically designed for those over aged 35 or who have been trying to conceive for over 12 months.

Whilst just over a third of UK couples will conceive in the first month of trying[i], for others it can be a much longer road, with factors such as age, general health and reproductive health affecting how long it takes. One area couples can take control of their conception preparation is through their lifestyle and nutrition. The advanced fertility range from PROCEIVE® delivers the most comprehensive levels of key conception nutrients, to help give couples the best chance to conceive naturally. The range is gluten free and suitable those following a vegetarian diet.

Whilst Jack wasn’t planned so I cannot be sure how long it took to conceive him, both pregnancies since then had me taking quite a while to conceive. With the stats saying that just over a third of UK couples will conceive in the first month of trying, I seem to have been very unlucky to go for months and months without anything happening. If Proceive had been on the market then, I certainly would have picked some up for myself from selected Holland & Barrett stores nationwide and online at both the Proceive and Holland and Barrett websites.

I’ve been offered the chance to give away a months supply of both Proceive Men and Proceive Women. Find out more about the products below.

PROCEIVE® MEN contains 26 key nutrients needed for pre-conception health. PROCEIVE® MEN is designed to support the nutritional needs of the male reproductive system when trying for a baby. It can help support healthy sperm, blood flow and energy. It is recommended that PROCEIVE® MAN is taken for up for 3 months before starting to try to conceive and that two capsules should be taken once a day. £24.95 for 1 month supply.

PROCEIVE® WOMAN contains 28 vitamins including folic acid, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B12, E, D and C. It is designed to support the nutritional needs of the female reproductive system when trying for a baby and provides the most comprehensive formulation, providing support for egg production, cell division circulation and energy. It is recommended that PROCEIVE® WOMAN is taken for up for 3 months before starting to try to conceive and that two capsules are taken once a day. £24.95 for 1 month supply





PROCEIVE® was researched and developed by Ocean Healthcare Ltd. an Irish company and is a specially formulated nutritional supplement designed to help aid conception. The PROCEIVE® range is the result of 5 years of research and development. The range and level of ingredients is the most comprehensive in the marketplace. All PROCEIVE® products are manufactured in the UK.

For your chance of winning, just fill in the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is UK only and ends at 23.59pm on the 30th of May 2018. Good luck!

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