In recognition of it being a quality green space, the Hermitage of Braid has held a Green Flag since 2011. The reserve comprises a mixture of habitats including woodland, grassland, scrubland, the Braid Burn and wetland. All of them provide a refuge for wildlife. You can hear green woodpecker calling from the top of the tall beech trees or you could startle a fox hunting rabbits or even an otter swimming in the burn!
Make sure to have your binoculars as you might be surprised by the amazing birdlife you might encounter. Regularly seen around the Nature Reserve are kestrels, kingfishers, herons, song thrush and even tawny owls. Get close to the swans, geese, coots, mallards and many other depending on the time you take a visit to Blackford Pond.
As a designated ancient woodland, the reserve is covered with woodlands for at least 300 years. Much of the woodland is now semi-natural with beech (Fagus sylvatica), Sycamore (Acer pseudplatanus) and Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) freely regenerating. The mature trees probably date from the early 19th century. Throughout the attractive woodland setting, many very old and large specimens are scattered
Saltwells Local Nature Reserve
Saltwells Wood stands at the heart of the nature reserve. The nature reserve was planted by Lady Dudley in the 18th century. It was to hide the scars of coal mining. Covering 247 acres, Saltwells Local Nature Reserve is now one of the UK’s largest urban nature reserves. The Descendants of Oak and Beech still survive at the Reserve.
Saltwells Local Nature Reserve is home to many species of woodland and birds like Jay, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker. In the wood, Wild Garlic and Anemones can be found together with lush carpets of Bluebells. Recently, the Forestry Authority for woodland management awarded the reserve with a Centre of Excellence award. Under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere project, Saltwells has long been a model urban reserve for Europe.
Things to see
Bumble Hole Local Nature Reserve
Situated in the Netherton area of Dudley Metropolitan Borough, Bumble Hole Reserve now features canals, ponds, wooded areas and grassland. It lies adjacent to the Warren’s Hall Nature Reserve. The Dudley No.2 canal runs into the reserve and there are two short arms lead off from this canal – Bubble Hole Branch and the Bushboil Arm.
Bubble Hole lake is a former clay pit that forms the largest body of water in the reserve. Between Warren’s Hall and Bumble Hole, there are no visible borders so that the two can form a single visitor’s attraction. There is a boating festival that takes place annually at both reserves. Every September, the event attracts canal boats, canal trips and a funfair.
Mumbles Hill Local Nature Reserve
To protect the site for both wildlife and people, 23 Hectares of Mumbles Hill was declared as a local Nature Reserve in 1991. The habitats on the hill include maritime heath, limestone scrub, limestone grassland and woodland. Each of them supports different animals and plants. On the hill, over 200 species of plants and fungi, hundreds of species of butterflies, bees and bugs and 40 species of birds have been recorded.
Some small mammals can also be seen such as foxes, shrews and voles. The resident birds include Skylark, green woodpecker and jay. The migratory birds include swallows, house martins and garden warblers. The lack of grazing has allowed invasive species such as bracken, gorse, holm oak and cotoneaster to invade, threatening to choke the rare limestone grasslands.
Nature-lovers might like the Mumbles Hill Nature Reserve as the reserve has several flora and fauna. However, this reserve is not the only place to find these creatures. Similar-looking bugs could be wandering in your garden. Don’t have one? Think again! At Kitty Bingo, you have a Secret Garden to tend to. Secret Garden Slot is an online slot machine playable on the online bingo site.
It is where you will have a view of the wildlife. The garden entrance is made of bricks and leads you to a majestic scenery. Get ready to come across, butterflies, flowers, ladybirds, rainbows and many more when you launch the game at Kitty Bingo. Ready to see these creatures on your screen? Experience a virtual trip in nature whenever you want!
Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve
Within a few miles of Wolverhampton city centre, there are wonderful walks along a canal and old railway track, meadows bursting with nature and a fabulous Edwardian railway station café serving great teas and cake. Did you know about that? Enjoy a bike ride along the former railway line Reserve if you want to disappear into some peace and quiet. Watch the leisurely pace of narrowboats on the Staffs and the Worcs canal or even better, discover more than 55 species of bird while you take a trip to Smestow Valley Local Nature.
Looking for picnic areas? Along the four-kilometre corridor, which covers 48 hectares, you’ll find picnic areas together with meadowland, woodland and the Smestow brook which runs the length of the reserve. It is part of the catchment area for the rivers Stour and Severn. Discover a rich habitat for birds, insects, animals and plants and get across of the city’s urban sprawl without seeing a car or lorry.
Are you ready to get on a peaceful journey to these places? Which one of them would you like to visit? Choose any of them depending on the type of natural places that you prefer!
One of the biggest lessons that you can teach your children is to stick to the budgets that they have set themselves. This is a valuable lesson as it is estimated that between ten to twelve million people applied for a payday loan for an unexpected financial emergency last year alone. By using play money, you can show the importance of budgeting and deciding the difference between a need and a want when it comes to purchasing items. By using fake money will help to showcase the importance of finance and teach them about owing money to others. This can then be escalated to learning about debt and interest rates as the child begins to grow.
A Money Box
One of the main ways that you can begin to encourage your children to save is with a money box. These devices come in a wide range of makes some with characters and some with lock codes and allow your loved one to keep their money safe and begin to save. There are a number of money boxes available online ranging from £7 to as much as £30 or more depending on the make and model. This is the perfect gift idea for a child or even a teen to help them begin to save for items that they want.
This popular household game has sold over 275 million copies since 1935 and is the perfect way to teach your kids about investing as well as finance. This is ideal for children of all ages as the game teaches them about investing, borrowing from the bank and also additional taxes which is a great introduction into how many works and how you can gain more. The more that your family sits and plays this game, the more your child will learn without even realising and most importantly having fun.
Create A Competitive Edge
If you are a family with multiple children all around the same age, then a bit of healthy competition is the perfect way to teach your children about money. Many young children like to spend the money as soon as they have it, however, this could encourage them to save. By rewarding the child that saves the most with a lump sum of your choice this can encourage your children to save from a young age. This comes as recent studies have shown that the average pocket money for a child in the UK comes to between £5.75 and £6.50 per week which is significantly higher than in previous years.
Money Management Apps
The final way for you to encourage your children to save is through a money-saving app. These popular applications can be found in the app store on both IOS and Android devices and can be linked directly to your bank account. This is great for teenagers and young adults as a large amount of time is spent on their phones. By using one of these apps it will promote them to keep track of their spending whilst on the go ensuring that they do not become overdrawn. Some of these applications such as Mint, Chip and Squirrel have different interfaces that allow you to view your spending either by category or making this perfect for a young adult using their bank account for the first time.
Money management is an important skill to carry through into your adult life and is something that should be taught from as young as possible. Which technique will you choose to teach your children?]]>
A recent study led by Netmums revealed shocking statistics on internet use by children, and the lack of protection in place to keep them safe. The survey found that just under three in 10 parents (29%) allowed their kids to use the internet without any restrictions or supervision. A further 25% of children frequently get away with pretending to be older to create an account online. This can only spell trouble in the long run, and easily avoidable when you consider the range of online safety options that are now available.
Let’s take a look at some of the essentials.
“VPN Green” (CC BY 2.0) by Infosec Images
A solid VPN (Virtual Private Network) offers a high level of protection from malware, viruses, third parties and hackers. Even as adults, we need to be on our guard to ward off all the potential dangers and threats we face online. Children are an easy target and can be tricked into sharing sensitive information such as credit card details, often through fake online games or movies that can be downloaded online.
“smartphone” (CC BY 2.0) by Witches Falls Cotages
If your child owns a smartphone or tablet – or they frequently use yours – it’s highly likely they will eventually begin to stray away from their favourite game or app into the unknown online world. That’s when problems can start to crop up, especially when you have no protective measures in place.
All modern smartphones now come with the option to restrict access to certain apps, browsers and social media networks. Take a look in your ‘Settings’ menu for more information. Many service providers also give parents the option to set limits on text, call and data usage, as well as adding parental control filters and extra security when it comes to inputting bank and purchase details. Again, there’s always extra help available, and plenty of tailor-made parental control apps to help manage every possible blind spot.
It’s worth making a checklist of all the devices and software that your child will be using, then ensuring that you have a VPN in place to protect each of them. If you’re struggling to cover all the bases, magazines like VPNBase even offer their own custom kids’ guide to the internet, which aim to help parents to ensure their children stay protected online at all times.
“Children at school” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Lupuca
Of course, this one is easier said than done for all of us. Yet it stands to reason that one of the best ways to avoid threats to your children’s safety online is to limit their exposure to the internet. There are plenty of novel ways to do this, such as only allowing children to use the internet in a communal area, which should make it easier to spot any inappropriate activity.
Another idea is to reset the WiFi password every day or two, only letting your kids know the answer once all their chores for the day are complete. Whichever way you decide to go, remember that the most important thing is to talk to your child and make sure they understand the potential dangers of the internet in an appropriate way. There is clearly acceptable and unacceptable behaviour – but children can’t be blamed for doing something if you haven’t set any boundaries.]]>
For an “out of the world” experience Wadi Rum is defiantly a must see. Wadi Rum is a protected dessert in Jordan with its unique reddish sands, natural arches and an incredible stargazing view between the mountains. A long-distance hiking trail will be held from the 1st of March until the 13 April 2019. A trail about 650km through 52 villages and towns with amazing sights to be seen. This may be an experience you don’t want to miss out.
Ouarzazate is a city that lies in Morocco with its High Atlas Mountains, it is known as the perfect getaway to the Sahara Dessert. Ouarzazate shaped with gorgeous palms and simple yet traditional buildings are defiantly the place to be for those who want to discover, learn and experience culture and traditions. A defiant must see is the Ksar of Ait – Benhaddou also known as the Ait – Benhaddou Palace which is 30 km away from Ouarzazate. It is a collection of Kasbahs surrounded by a fortified wall. This can be a life changing visit.
Want that ideal mountain getaway, this is the trip for you! Admire the majesty of Northern Italy as you pass through The Swiss Alpine, take a cruise across the Lake Como which will leave you standing in awe. Whether you are riding the train up the mountain slope or zip lining through the mountain views, you’ll be immersed by the beauty of the region’s people, scenery and culture. A good start to begin this amazing journey between Switzerland and Italy is from Zurich. This journey will only leave you wanting more.
Enjoying a train ride through the breathtaking scenery offers some of the most incredible views in the world. However, if you’re a bit scared of heights – take a tablet and some highly addictive games from sites like Kitty Bingo or Candicrush – ensuring you’re suitably distracted for some time at least.
Samarkand is one of the eldest inhabited cities in the Central Asia and is known as the hub of world cultures from hundreds of years. A must see when visiting is the Registan Square which has the world’s most beautiful squares and completely covered by mosaics and decorated with gold and calligraphy. On May 25th until May 27th, 2019 the Silk and Spices Festival will be held in Bukhara. During this festival there are fairs where travelers can buy handcrafts, silk scarves and souvenirs. Take a trip down the Festival Valley.
Known for its beautiful Caribbean beaches, with righteous surfing and sunbathing, but did you know that it is also a great place for wildlife spotting and delicious foods. The number 1 activity on Palomino is the tube ride down the Palomino River. Through the jungle of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to the Caribbean Sea. An amazing way to experience the calm and natural beauty while catching a glimpse of what nature has to offer, keep an eye out for the monkeys and toucans and more! So, forget about Bali because in 2019 it’s all about Palomino.
Now the real question is, which trip will you choose?
Slange Var is a refreshing combination of soothing honey, tangy limes, fiery ginger and fresh Scottish water. It can be enjoyed in a variety of guises – on its own, on the rocks, mixed with juices or fruity syrups in a fun mocktail, or even as the base of an alcohol free hot toddy!
Consider asking for Slange Var if you go on a night out with friends or family; or if you need something elegant you can sip with an evening meal that isn’t a glass of wine.
Product Reviewed – Slange Var Non Alcoholic Drink
“I like that Slange Var isn’t at all sugary. I found it tart and very fresh in a tall glass of soda with mint. I definitely prefer Slange Var with soda as an alterative to the super sweet non alcoholic wines.”
Slange Var is £19.99 for three 500ml bottle and is available online.
A non alcoholic wine can provide all the flavour of their alcoholic counterparts, but also delivers a lot of bubbly, light hearted fun. Sparkling non alcoholic wines are best enjoyed with a meal or when settling down for a cosy evening in.
Our favourite sparkling non alcoholic wine is The Bees Knees, who produce a variety of flavours for you too choose from. It doesn’t matter if you are a rose drinker or a white wine fan, they have a drink that you’ll enjoy.
Product Reviewed – The Bees Knees Sparkling Alcohol Free 75cl
“I loved the idea of a alcohol free white wine. The idea that is is dealcohlised intrigued me and I thought it would have the crispness of wine, but it didn’t. If you like sweet wines you will be happy.”
The Bees Knees Wine is around £3.00 for one 750ml bottle and is available in most supermarkets.
The non alcoholic beer market is booming right now. All the big beer brands offer a variety of alcohol free options, and there are countless craft breweries also entering the market. A refreshing beer is perfect for a Sunday roast, with a summery barbeque, or when meeting friends after work.
Personally, we opt for Beck’s Blue when we are in the mood for a non alcoholic beer. It is crisp, light and inexpensive. If you’re after something with a deeper, more complex flavour, then why not try Brewdog’s Nanny State which we think goes well with comfort food such as pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Product Reviewed – Beck’s Blue Alcohol Free Lager 0.05% ABV
“Becks Blue is my go to alcohol free beer. It’s tasty and to be honest, no one has a clue you are not drinking. When not pregnant my aboslut favourite is Erdinkger alcohol free beer – it is so super tasty – a blonde lager equivalent. However it does have a smidge of alcohol 0.5%. So not an option if you want to be 100% alcohol free. “
Becks Blue is around £3.50 for 6 (275ml) bottles and is available in most supermarkets.
Bringing a child into the world is something to celebrate! And when others crack out the bubbly to toast you and your newborn, you shouldn’t be left out. What you need is a non alcoholic alternative to prosecco or champagne for all the celebrating you’ll be doing.
Why not try some Nosecco, an alcohol free imitation which will have you fooled. The bubbles, the fizz, the pale golden colour, the playful flavour, they are all still there, just without the alcohol content.
Nosecco Spumante Alcohol Free
“Definitely fun to have a Nosecco. It’s a fun party drink. “
Nosecco is around £3.50 for a 750ml bottle and is available in most supermarkets.
For the gin fans out there (we know there’s plenty of you!), there are products out there for you to enjoy during pregnancy. After an exhausting day, you need a drink with the same depth of flavour and versatility, and we’ve got the just the one for you.
Seedlip is a distilled non-alcoholic spirit made which ticks all the gin lover’s boxes. It matches well with the classic tonic water and lime wedge, or as the key ingredient to bring a mocktail together.
Product Reviewed – Seelip Garden
“Seedlip is interesting, unsual and pricey. I think the bottles are absolutely beautiful and it makes a wonderful gift. I’d definitely try it again as a treat.”
Seedlip is £22 for a 750 ml bottle and is available online or in most stores.
These days there really is a non alcoholic option for all tastes, you just need to find the one for you! So whether your pregnant or simply feeling challenged by Dry January, we’d love to know what you are drinking so please share your favourite non alcoholic alternatives on twitter of facebook with us.]]>
It is a myth that babies need to crawl first before they can walk. The truth is that they can walk even if they do not learn how to crawl. Therefore, you don’t need to worry that your baby is behind the developmental stage if, after a few months, your baby still doesn’t crawl. Your baby might surprise you to one day by standing up and walking. Crawling and walking are not in a linear pattern, so you need to stay enthusiastic.
Walking at 12 months is not a must
Some parents have this false notion that their babies need to learn how to walk at 12 months, and if they are behind, they start stressing out. Babies have different paces of learning. Some of them learn how to talk months behind other kids. It does not mean they are slow. Various factors might affect their willingness to learn. You need to keep encouraging them to walk without putting too much pressure on them. Babies learn how to walk between 9-16 months. Give them some time to learn.
Walkers help, but you need to be careful in using them
You can let your baby learn how to walk using baby walkers. You can even buy one with toys that are on the walker to keep your baby entertained when learning how to walk. Remember that these walkers will help your kids exercise their feet to practice walking, but you still need to guide them. Walkers don’t necessarily teach balance. Babies might also walk too quickly because of the wheels. They could be at risk when walking near the stairs. Therefore, you need to choose the right walker and only allow your baby to use it when you are around.
Shoes are not necessary for learning how to walk
Apart from the fact that baby shoes are cute, they don’t necessarily serve any purpose when they learn how to walk. It could even go the other way as these shoes prevent babies from learning how to balance, resulting in falls and injuries. They learn to walk because of the texture of the floor and walking barefoot helps them. The only time when you need your baby to use shoes is when you are outside since the ground can be too risky for them. They might walk on thorns and other sharp objects.
The most important fact is that kids learn in different stages. Avoid forcing them to walk when they are not ready as the results could be the opposite. You also need to remain supportive (without panicking) if they do not learn as quickly as other babies.
A mix of a family hatchback with the aesthetic appeal of a modern day sports car the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is the perfect car for your family whether you’re travelling long or short distances. This car has a choice of both Petrol and diesel engines with varying sizes to ensure that you have the best possible driving experience every time. With technology at the heart of the vehicle, you can ensure that you and your family are safe when travelling the open road. This car not only comes equipped with Alfa Romeos patented D.N.A driving experience, but it also features electronic stability as well as 6 airbags for maximum safety, making it a worthwhile investment for the family at just over £19,000.
With 3 different models available, the Vauxhall Insignia is the perfect choice for a reliable family car. With space for all inside and a spacious amount of storage, this car is perfect for running errands, or driving long distances on family holidays. In addition to this, a vast array of safety features are also included to keep you and your family safe on the road. With smart speed management to new and improved LED headlights allowing you to see further into the distance, there is plenty of amazing technology placed into this car that makes it worthy of a place on our list.
In amongst the amazing range of family cars that are bought to us by Kia is the Kia Soul. This stylish car is one of the cheapest on this list coming in at just over £14,000. With a 6 gear manual engine, this is the perfect car for a family, whether you have young children or those that are slightly older, this reliable vehicle will cater to all their needs. If you are looking for fuel economy as one of the major contributors to your chosen car then you are also in luck as this car runs on average 58.8 miles to the gallon, meaning that you can save yourself money in the long term.
The next generation of Volkswagen Golf is here and it is better than ever! This tried and tested vehicle is back with a whole new look. At just £18,000 you can have the very best of Volkswagen technology in a spacious family-friendly design. With 5 seats and a choice of 3 or 5 doors, you can have the family hatchback that works for you. In addition the performance of this stunning vehicle is now better than ever, with 67.3 miles per gallon you can go the distance and not have to fill up as frequently.
One of the highest selling family SUV’s of 2017 and 2018, the Nissan Qashqai is the perfect choice for those large families and those that love to travel. The sleek exterior design brings something new to the vehicle that is sure to turn heads as you drive down the street. In addition to this new external design, there is a panoramic sunroof that has been added to the interior to give your passengers an immersive experience as you drive.
Finding a car for your family has never been easier with the vast amount of options that are available to you. Which will you choose?]]>
Always consider safety
It is imperative that you have safety at the forefront of your mind during the production of your new nursery. There are so many small safety things to consider that you wouldn’t usually think of but that pose a threat to your child. We have put together a list of the safety requirements that you need to consider when creating your nursery!
What kind of style do you want?
Once you have considered the baby-proofing aspect of decorating your home nursery you can move on to the fun part. We all love getting creative in our interior decorations, so don’t be afraid to really go for it and make this room a beautiful starting point for your child! Pick sophisticated styles, elegant patterns and beautiful design. Make your child’s first bedroom decorations the perfect expression of love! And remember to make use of voucher codes online in order to cut the cost of your new nursery shopping! Here are a few things that you can consider when deciding on the style of your nursery!
There are so many things to consider when you are designing your new nursery! The two main points are safety and style. Under safety comes a consideration of plug sockets, wires, furniture fixtures, child locks, sharp corners and wall hangings. Under style comes themes, wallpaper, colour schemes and soft furnishings. So with all of this in mind it’s time for you to start compiling a plan to make your new nursery both safe and stylish.]]>
Planning out the commute that you would need to make to a new home will help you to realise if it’s a feasible journey. Depending on the location of your home and work, this could end up being costly and very time consuming. While you may initially feel like this would be manageable, you don’t want to find out that it’s not until you actually move.
Take a test run from the home to the office during peak times. This will show you what your average day will look like. If it’s overly stressful or takes a lot of time out of your day, then you won’t want to keep this up in the long run.
If you or a person that you plan on living with has additional needs, then the accessibility of the home is also very important. This will play a big role in the choice of home that you buy, as you ideally want to get one in which this work has already been taken care of. Not every home has the potential to be made accessible, as building restrictions can make this trickier to deal with. Mobility Plus recommend a range of different options to make the average bathroom safer. These include rails, non-slip tiles and more. These can make the bathroom safer and more accessible for those that may have additional needs.
No one wants to be far from amenities, especially in the capital! Make sure the homes that you view have good transport links, nearby stores and places to go too. You may also want to consider the schools in the area to ensure that they would be appropriate for your children. Parking in London is always at a premium, so consider where you will leave your car too – as this could incur an additional expense.
Take time to note down the amenities that you visit most often in your current location. These could be bars, restaurants or even cinemas – if you visit them often then you might not want to live too far away from them in future. You can also discover new activities and things to do in your new area too.
You also want to be aware of the kind of area that you’re moving into. Take a look into crime statistics and the reputation of the area first and foremost. London is a relatively safe city, but there can be areas in which you wouldn’t want to live.
Do your research to ensure that you’re purchasing a home in an area in which you’ll feel safe. You don’t want to discover that the home was cheaper because it’s in a bad area after you’ve already bought it! Ask those that live in different areas their perception of where you want to live. The person selling the home won’t tell you all of the ins and outs of the area, but others that live in London might be able to tip you off.
Buying a home in London can be costly and time consuming, but it’s well worth the hassle. Take these factors into account if you want to get the right home for you.
You need to think about how you will physically be able to get into the room. Do you have space to roll a wheelchair in if necessary? It could mean that you need to create a wider door frame space, or level of the flooring. You could also look into other options such as not having a conventional door – and install a sliding one. Sometimes things like this can make a huge difference.
You need to think carefully about the flooring in your bathroom. A carpet has the advantage of having good grip – however it could also make movement difficult if you need to use a wheelchair for movement. It’s also not the most hygienic flooring choice. Other options include linoleum or tiles, but these can also be a bit slippery which is another type of hazard. You can also use colour to focus on specific areas.
These are great solutions for people who have mobility issues. They can also be stylish, so you don’t need to worry about the look and feel of your bathroom. You can also get additional luxury options such as baths that are deeper than normal. Walk-in showers are of course incredibly easy to get in and out of – and you can also put a seat in there to make it even easier. You can get versions for both adults and children. If you’re undecided about whether to install a walk-in bath or shower, you can learn more about what’s available through this site who are experts and have a written a useful comparison guide of the two options.
Some of the options mentioned assume that there is an element of mobility, however if that isn’t the case – you can use a hoist for a safe means to transfer to a bath or a shower. There are a few options here for example it can be tracked to the ceiling, or you can get motorised or wheeled systems. Before arranging this, you will need to take some things into consideration such as what your budget is, do you need to get someone from room to room etc.
For some people, getting on and off the toilet can be a massive problem – but making sure there is a simple support arm is something that can help. If this isn’t quite enough to accommodate your needs, you can also do things like move the plumbing and pipework – or move the sink closer to the toilet – so it can be used as an aid to lean on. There are also ways for you to move accessories such as sinks, shower seats etc using tracking on the ceiling.]]>