Archives for February 2014

How to Save Money on Toys as a Parent

While it is safe to say that a vast number of UK children are spoiled, doted upon, and have the privilege of growing up in a high income home in which they were never in want of toys, play things, or any other necessities of childhood, this is not the case for all. Many young children who are raised in lower or middle class financial situations have only a relative few number of toys, must share with many others, or have none at all, at least not the most trendy and expensive ones which are naturally the ones they may be begging for each birthday and Christmas. In this day and age of ballooning technology, toys are no longer just a few marbles in a cloth bag or a stuffed teddy bear that had been passed down. The most highly sought after toys, instead, are several hundred pound video game consoles, collectible and limited edition doll houses and even iPhones and personal computers.

Because of the pressures and desires of children and the influence that their peers may have on their want for this doll or that remote control car, it is no doubt a hardship to not be able to have the toys that you want. But how can you, as a parent, provide your child with the newest and most popular toy on the market without cutting out funds from your food budget or emergency fund? Some people may decide to get payday loans from Zebra, especially during the Christmas period when money is tight. Payday loans are extremely popular since they allow families to stay financially afloat until their next pay date. If you’re really tight on money, it may be best to contact a reputable loan company like Zebra Loans, however here are some tips on saving money:


Spending What You Have Wisely

If your toy budget for your children is limited, but you want to be able to stretch your funds as far as you can without going over board, make an effort to follow a few simple rules when purchasing toys. First, try to buy off peak season. Some toy prices spike at the beginning of the summer holidays when many more children are at home, or during the winter holiday season when Christmas gifts galore are being bought. Try buying clearance toys at the end of the summer holidays when children are back in school, and saving them as presents for your kids to enjoy later. Secondly, buy secondhand. Ebay is an excellent resource for purchasing new or used discounted games, puzzles, electronics, figurines, plush characters, cards and more. Or, try your local charity shop to score serious bargains on everything from children’s books to electronic toys.

Another idea that you might want to consider to save money on toys is setting up a toy swap with friends who have children of similar ages. Some families keep their toy collection fresh and interesting by trading toys with another family every month or two, so that the children never get bored with what they have. Essentially, you are getting an entirely new toy set that will keep the kids entertained for hours, without having to spend a single pound. This sharing of the wealth is a great practice to keep up amongst families on limited budgets whose children are of similar ages and interests.


Affordable Solutions for Toys

There are a good many toy gifting charity organisations throughout the UK whose purpose is to provide toys to families who cannot afford them. Supplement your children’s toys through an outlet like this, such as the Toy Trust Children’s Charity UK. Though your child may be demanding of bigger, better, more technological toys with lights and sounds, keep in mind that simpler is usually better. Spend time as a family playing classic card games or creating toys of your own like making your own teddy bear or doll out of used fabric scraps.

Exploring Pasig City

Being a mom definitely comes with many perks. One of them is having an excuse to be a child again when playing with your kid. And you also get to join school field trips again!

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A few weeks ago, Kinderwood Learning Villa had its annual learning exposure trip which included tours in different attractions in Pasig City.  The kids (and parents) learned more about fishes at Las Farolas, saw artifacts and heard stories about the rich history and culture of Pasig at the City Museum, and had great outdoor fun at RAVE.


Las Farolas

We have passed in front of Las Farolas several times already since it was opened but have never really been inclined to check it out.  We’ve read mixed feedback on this “waterworld” with some parents saying that it was a fun place to discover more about fishes while others say that they found it a bit boring.  The kids’ school exposure trip provided us a chance to finally see it for ourselves.

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Las Farolas is a modest oceanarium where one can learn more about rich freshwater biodiversity.   They exhibit various aquatic species not only from the Philippines but from other countries as well.  Aside from functioning as a museum of sorts, Las Farolas also serves as a research platform for new methods and breeding practices that would help preserve and conserve freshwater aquatic resources.

So, how did the kids find the place?  Some kids enjoyed looking at the different aquatic lifeforms but some kids were not too keen about them.  While inside the two-storey hubs, my little Jade was too afraid of the dark surroundings to fully enjoy viewing the ornamental fishes and other animals.  Before we even finished the tour inside, Jakei had already turned cranky.  I can’t remember what triggered that bad mood but suffice it to say that we did not enjoy the rest of Las Farolas after that.

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Would I recommend the place to other families? Not really. Unless you are a family of fish lovers and would enjoy spending hours just watching the fish and other aquatic lifeforms swimming inside their aquariums.  I also find the entrance fee of P400 too steep for a modest oceanarium.  I’d rather just take my kids back to Manila Ocean Park or to Ocean Adventure in Subic.


Pasig City Museum

Our next stop was the Pasig City Museum housed at the Concepcion Mansion, an architectural heritage built in the 1930s.  During the Japanese occupation, the mansion was used as a Japanese headquarters and a detention house.  The Concepcion Mansion was acquired by the Pasig City government in the 1980s and used it as the city library and museum.  In early 2000s, it was renovated and was renamed as the Pasig City Museum.  Today, it serves as a historical and art museum exhibiting the city’s rich culture and history.

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How did the kids find the museum? The artifacts, dioramas, and other exhibits did pique my kids curiosity.  Jade was interested to know the story behind “Nagsabado ng Pasig” and marveled at the “Mutya ng Pasig” sculpture in the lobby.  I was on my toes during the entire time we were there because the kids were used to going to interactive museums and may think that it’s fine to touch the relics on display.

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Would I recommend this museum to other families?  Yes, especially if you live in Pasig.  However, visit the museum in small groups to fully appreciate the exhibits and the tour.  It was nice to see how rich the history of Pasig is but it would have been a much better experience if we were guided around in small groups.  We were way too many(more than 50) for a decent guided tour around the museum.  Those staying at the back (us included) could barely hear what the guide was saying.


RAVE of Pasig

The Rainforest Adventure Experience of Pasig is an oasis in the midst of industrial, commercial, and residential structures in a highly urbanized city.  If you need a breath of fresh air without driving hours out of Metro Manila, RAVE is the place to go.  Among the many attractions in this park are a petting zoo, an aviary, a butterfly pavilion, a maze garden with tropical flora, a boating lagoon, and a water park.  There’s also an amphitheater and an obstacle course.  Those who want to see all the attractions without having to walk the entire time can ride on the train that goes around the park.

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Did the kids like the park?  Oh yes, the kids were raving about the RAVE of Pasig days after the field trip.  They really loved the open space and the many attractions. Jakei was delighted to see a peacock. I bet he would have been ecstatic had the peacock spread its tail. 🙂  The animals in the zoo looked a bit pitiful though.  I’m sure the zookeepers are doing their best to care for them but you really can’t help feeling bad for the animals cooped in their tiny pens. 

The wishing well in the middle of the maze garden delighted Jade.  I didn’t have coins in my wallet so we had to ask around to have our bill changed.  Both my kids made wishes until we ran out of coins.  It’s worthy to note that the park administrators made sure that the well was safe for children (and crazy adults) by putting chicken wire over the opening of the well.  That should prevent any accidental falls into the well.

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Another attraction that the kids enjoyed was the Chess Pavilion.  They didn’t know how to play chess yet but are familiar with the game.  What made the place exciting for them was that the chess pieces were around two-feet high and the board was big enough for them to walk on.

The kids also had a great ride on the train. I wouldn’t let children ride the train without any adult though as it didn’t provide any security for active children.  Wildly adventurous kids could jump off the moving train without much difficulty.

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Would we recommend this park to other families? Yes, definitely yes!  It is among the handful of open spaces in the metro where kids can run around freely and enjoy nature. The Waterpark also looked very inviting so we might go back again for a swim one of these days.

Keep Your Piano Working Great with Piano Service

One of the most common instruments that you will find in a house is a piano. They are a beautiful instrument that many people enjoy playing and listening to. A friend of mine even had piano songs played at her wedding. If you own a piano, you know how important it is to properly care for your piano, which includes tuning. You should have your piano tuned twice a year to keep the sound beautiful and in-key. When it is time to have your piano tuned (unless you have an electric piano, which requires much less maintenance), you can be confident that every person on the professional team you hire is trained and will take their time to tune your piano properly. Other services are also needed overtime. When you need any help with your piano, you can contact a company such as Peak Piano Service and they will take care of all of your piano needs in no time. If you’re thinking about buying a piano or a keyboard, it might be helpful to see what Andrey From Blue Buzz Music, has to say.

Image courtesy of tiverylucky /

Image courtesy of tiverylucky /

Do you have a piano that is older and is not in very good condition? If you want your piano working better than ever before, it can be restored to its original condition by a well-trained professional. Any part of your piano can be restored, including the strings, damper work, regulations, hammer, soundboard, and the ivory keyboard. If you want to change the look of your piano, they can create your dreams into reality.

If you have ever moved, you know how difficult it is to move your piano; they are very heavy and have awkward angles. Instead of attempting this yourself and potentially damaging your piano, you can hire a team that is trained and will do everything in their power to keep your piano safe. Before they begin moving your piano, they will come evaluate and plan the best way to move it and see if any equipment is needed to do this. They will treat your piano like it is their own and will move it with no damage being done.

Every so often, your piano might need a simple repair done, such as fixing a key that is stuck. Instead of breaking the bank, you can get an affordable company, such as Peak Piano Service, to come out and fix your piano quickly. No matter what your piano needs are, you can trust that your piano is in good hands.

Renovating Your Home

You’ve had a renovation in mind for months, and you’ve finally managed to save up enough money to start those all important improvements on what soon will be your dream home. This might mean you just changing the garage doors to your house (from somewhere like Coastal Garage Doors). Or you might want to completely change a room inside your house. However, whether it is a large or small renovation, you still need to be able to live comfortably in your house while renovations are under way. If you are simply redecorating one room in the house, it is easier to carry on living comfortably, unless it is the refurbishment of a kitchen or bathroom. For house extensions and renovations to the exterior of your home, you might be making a lot of compromises when it comes to living conditions over the next few weeks.


The weather is at the best of times, unpredictable. It could be sunny and bright one day and cloudy and miserable the next. Particularly in the UK, where rain is as common as night and day, it can be frustrating during renovations to find that your new foundations are now muddy and boggy. However once renovations are under way, there is little you can do other than tough it out.

If you are a fan of garden parties and have a few spare gazebos in the garage, you can set them up to reduce the amount of rain the renovation is exposed to. Alternatively you can also buy tarpaulin from home improvement stores and drape this over the materials most exposed to the weather. If you want to plough through with renovation works, a gazebo can be a good way to go.


Burglars and thieves are always looking for an opportunity, and home-owners in the process of a renovation are frequently considered easy targets. This is because of workers that you don’t particularly know, walking in and out of your home and your renovation may open up another part of the house, making it far easier for thieves to break in and enter.

You can increase your home security by making sure that your home is well lit overnight. Lights with motion sensors are a great way to deter burglars, as they will prefer not to take the chance. You can also increase security by putting up fencing around your new renovation, so that it is much harder for potential thieves and burglars to get into the property.


If you are in the process of remodelling your home, particularly in the winter, heating may be an issue. This is more often the case when you are building an extension, because part of the house is now open to the elements. You don’t want to waste money on ‘heating the whole street’ so close doors and windows where possible. You might also be interested in getting a HVAC system installed in your house. If this is the case then you can easily check out someone like these HVAC contractors in Hillsborough, NC, to give you a better idea of what you could do to your house.

Don’t forget though that now is the time to get everything sorted for your house. So even though it’s cold now you should probably make sure that you’ve planned everything perfectly. If you are worried about the heating now (particularly if your extension isn’t complete just yet), then consider what you’re new extension will be like when it is complete. If you don’t have the right type of insulation or windows then that extension may still be cold even if it’s completely. That’s why it is so important to have the right types of windows for you new extension. Why not check out someone like MWT Windows who can provide with durable windows that will keep your house warm even when it’s cold.

If your extension has no doors as of yet, try hanging an old sheet from the doorway to block out drafts and to reduce heat loss from the rest of the house. Alternatively you could bite the bullet and simply cover yourselves in blankets for the time being, so avoid extra heating bill costs.

Renovating your home may seem like a lot of work, but you’re undertaking the project for a particular reason, and it will all be worth it in the end. With that being said, you can always decide to ease the pressure from yourself by looking at how somewhere like this Boston design build company can help to remodel certain rooms for you, so you don’t have to spend more time living on a construction site. They have a good reputation, so this could be an option worth considering if you want professional assistance. But don’t worry, if you stay vigilant and prepare for anything, you’ll be relaxing in your new extension in no time.


About the Author: Clara Campbell is a home design blogger who has contributed this post on behalf of Maltaward, suppliers of high quality security products such as mesh panel fencing

WIN Tickets to Mom and Me FUN to be FIT

Who wants to WIN FREE TICKETS to MOM AND ME FUN TO BE FIT  activities this March?  A winner will be drawn every week and the lucky Mom and child will get to join one of Mom and Me’s fitness activities for FREE!

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Here’s the schedule for this March:

  • March 1 at Yoga+ (Yoga) *suited for kids age 5 to 8
  • March 8 at Slimmers World Megamall (Aero Mashup) *suited for kids age 6 to 12
  •  March 15 at White Space Mind and Body Wellness (Yoga) *suited for kids age 6 to 12
  • March 22 at Slimmers World Trafalgar (Aero Mashup) *suited for kids age 6 to 12
  • March 28 at The Legend Villas (Swimming) *suited for kids age 6 to 12

To set your excitement even higher, Mom and Me is giving 10% discount for all activities this March.  Just Use the promo code MAM4781 when you purchase your tickets online at their website,

And as I’ve mentioned, Mom and Me is also giving away free tickets!  Just follow the instructions in the rafflecopter below to join the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway mechanics:

A total of 5 tickets will be given away, one for each event day. Simply follow the procedure below and get a chance to win a Mom and Me Fun To Be Fit ticket. 🙂

  1. Contest is open from February 17 to March 28.

  2. Contest is open to all Mom and Me Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers. Make sure to read about the event in their website []. Join this only if you and your little one can attend.

  3. Announcement of winners will be every Monday on the week of the event.

  4. Winners will be announced via Mom and Me Facebook and Twitter.

  5. Entry to this rafflecopter allows Mom and Me to announce the winner to the public.

  6. Prizes are transferable upon request and cannot be exchanged for cash.

  7. Tickets must be used on its specific date of validity and cannot be exchanged to another date.


This event is presented by companies and brands who support the health and fitness of moms and kids: Yoga+, Slimmers World, White Space Mind and Body Wellness Studio, The Legend Villas, Citibank, Enercal Plus, Thor Productions, Malaya Living, Baby Magazine, Travelife Magazine, Circuit Magazine, Mom Center Philippines, and WhenInManila(dot)com.