Springtime Festivities

Spring is just around the corner and there are so many exciting festivals and holidays that provide a great excuse to spend some quality time with your family. Here are just a selection and some tips on how to enjoy them with your kids.


Saint Vast v 2lentine’s Day

Although for most people St Valentine’s Day is a celebration of the love between a couple, in our house we’ve always made it a family affair.

There are so many ways you can include your kids and show them just how much you love them:

  • Take time out to play or read with them, or watch their favourite film (Cinderella was always my favourite)
  • Do something different! Ceramic painting, go-karting, taking a trip in a hot-air balloon and picking your own fruit or vegetables are all fun activities that the whole family can enjoy
  • Whip up something delicious in the kitchen – I particularly love the look of the owl cupcakes here http://bit.ly/2HcZ8Ts


yoori-koo-51884Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday actually has its origins alongside the Carnival tradition celebrated throughout the world. It is a celebration of all things “forbidden” and takes place before the fasting period of Lent. When I was growing up pancake day was (and still is) one of my favourite celebrations – I loved cooking up pancakes with my mum for the family. Here are some delicious and kid-friendly recipes for you to try whipping-up at home:


chinese new yearChinese New Year

Even if you don’t have Chinese roots, Chinese New Year has some fun traditions which you can enjoy with the whole family. Traditionally, Chinese families celebrate with an annual reunion dinner and gifts for the children. But before the fun can begin, the house has to be spring-cleaned from top to bottom and decorated with paper-chains – what a great way to get the kids thinking that cleaning is “fun”! Chinese New Year is also now celebrated all throughout the world so you could even take the kids along to one of the (often free) celebrations organised in your nearest city for a day full of colour and costumes and parades.

Safety on half term ski trips

Are you heading off to the Alps or Scotaland  or maybe to the States for your half term ski trip this year? Every year thousands of us head off for a week of snow and skiing or boarding with their kids.


But have you thought about safety ? No matter how competent you are at skiing, there are safety rules that always need to be observed.

Always wear a helmet. They are now compulsory on many of the slopes for both adults and kids. Forget that you don’t like the look or it flattens your hair. Think of it this way, you have warmer ears!  Also you can buy so many funky hats to wear OVER the helmet, so there is really no excuse for not wearing one. However good you are at skiing, there are always things outside of your control, like patches of ice and other skiers who might be skiing too fast or don’t have proper control over what they are doing. They could fly straight into you… I’ve seen it all before and it’s not nice. The Ski Club GB recommends that all children under 14 years of age wear a helmet when skiing or snowboarding. It is a legal requirement for children to wear a helmet in some resorts and countries, and in some cases it’s also compulsory for adults to wear a helmet in certain specified areas of the mountain such as advanced terrain parks. Please ensure you check and adhere to the regulations of your chosen area. It’s important to remember that the most effective way to ensure your safety, and the safety of others, is to ski within your ability.


Helmet FAQs

1. When buying a helmet for skiing or snowboarding are there any standards I should be aware of?

Ski helmets need to comply with one of three standard systems:

  • Common European Norm (CEN) and this is the European ski helmet standard. CEN 1077 was issued in 1996.
  • The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), all helmets must show that they have reached standard F2040.
  • Snell Memorial Foundation, Snell RS-98 and this is arguably the most stringent helmet safety standard.

2. Will wearing a helmet give me 100% protection in a ski or snowboard accident?

Helmets are not 100% effective, especially at high speeds or in a head-on clash.
To increase their effectiveness it is essential that the helmet fits properly at the time of purchase.
When buying a ski helmet for a child it should not be seen as an investment for the child to grow into.
Skiers or snowboarders wearing helmets must not consider themselves to be invincible and also adhere to the Ten FIS Rules of Conduct.

3. How do I fit a ski helmet?

Helmet size is the measurement of the circumference of your head just above your eyebrows.
When putting the helmet on to your head align the front of the helmet with your eyebrows and pull down on both straps until it is comfortable.
A correctly fitted helmet should have no gaps between the lining of the helmet and your head. The back of the helmet should not touch the back of your neck.
Goggles should fit comfortably over the helmet. It is a good idea to take your goggles with you and try them on with the helmet to ensure they fit comfortably with your helmet choice

4. Is it compulsory for children to wear a helmet?

In some resorts it is compulsory for children to wear a helmet – usually under the age of 16. Most ski schools will insist that children wear helmets. Check the individual resort’s website for details.

6. If I don’t wear a helmet, will my insurance still be valid?

Some travel insurance policies now insist that you wear a helmet – please check your policy details carefully and if in doubt, contact your insurer.


Have you wondered how to identify your skis and helmets when you have just taken them off in the chalet or for lunch? It’s common that everyone just dumps their skis on the racks outside the restaurants during the day, or they dig them into the snow and stand them there until lunch is over. There are a lot that look the same but get the wrong ones and your boots won’t fit into them!addictWhat I always do is label my skis. Labels4Kids vinyl labels are all waterproof and perfectly suited for the job. No more struggling to find your stuff! We offer vinyl stickers in several sizes, from minis which are good for a discrete labelling of your helmet to long vinyl stickers which are a lot larger and easier to spot and read.  There are a couple of options.  The vinyl stickers mentioned above, personalised for you in your favourite colour  with an image of your choice,  or a combo of blank  Stick On Labels  with transparent covers. This allows you to write on the Stick On Label  yourself, and cover them so they are well-protected. So go ahead and label your skis, helmet, boots, goggles, everything. Especially little bits and ends such as glasses and gloves can go missing easily. Include a phone number and some Good Samaritan might call you to let you know where your missing items are (take my word for it, it has happened to me).

And finally on losing the kids?  Don’t forget your ID bands, it will really make a difference if they get lost and can help keep them safe. We have a variety of designs and two types, disposable and reusable. Both feature your phone number so staff or other skiers can get in touch immediately if they find your child.

Stay safe on the slopes this year and follow all advice on labeling and wearing your helmet at all times that you are boarding or skiing!




The internet is amazing and opens up a whole world of captivating experiences for children. However with the digital world constantly evolving how do we as parents ensure our children are protected?

Parental controls

These are key to keeping your child safe online. They can be implemented to impede distressing or dangerous content, control in-app purchases or manage how much time your child spends online. What can appear to be a harmless search can often produce not so harmless results. If you are concerned about what they maybe looking for on the internet, or who they are conversing with discuss the matter with them. In addition parental controls are key to help protect them and they are straightforward to implement.

Parental controls are software and tools which parents and carers can set up on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, games consoles and the home broadband. They can be utilised to prevent your child seeing  inappropriate content when searching online.

In addition these controls are there to aide parents to limit the amount of time a child spends online and to prevent them downloading age inappropriate apps.

Kids Devices

With an ever increasing number of children having access to a smartphone or tablet here are 5 tips to protect them when online.

  1. Use app store settings to show only age appropriate apps. Check age ratings of apps you are not familiar with.
  2. Ensure app and in app purchases require a password.
  3. Turn off location services so that your child’s location isn’t unintentionally shared with others.
  4. Switch on Google Safesearch to block  explicit images, videos, and websites from Google Search results.  For phones and tablets go to SEARCH settings
  • Find the “SafeSearch filters” section.
  • To turn on SafeSearch, tap Filter explicit results.
  • To turn off SafeSearch, tap Show most relevant results
  • At the bottom of the screen, tap Save.

5. Turn on YouTube Restricted Mode to bar mature content.


Agree Digital BoundariesGirl-with-mobile-phone-007

The most important point is to talk to your child about being responsible when online and possibly sharing images  and other content.


Have regular conversations with them about what they are doing online and stress the importance of 2 way communication so that you can help to ensure their browsing experience is a safe one.







Millions Missing – Our family’s experience of dealing with M.E.

“Millions Missing” is the theme of this year’s M.E. Association fundraising. Millions of people missing from everyday life because they are at home too unwell to attend school or work, and millions missing in funding to find a cure. Sounds unreal, doesn’t it? That’s the situation for many people including up to 40,000 12-18 year olds in England alone who are too unwell to attend school. Chronic fatigue syndrome or M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) often comes about after a period of viral infection. The experience of my 14-year-old son has been an eye opener for our family. It has resulted in tonnes of doctors’ appointments, try this or that, tonnes of missed school hours and missed hours of work for mum. We  hope that at some stage he will be well enough to make even 2 hours a week in school. Here’s our story so far to make more people aware of this devastating illness and its’ effect on the sufferer and their family  and also in the hope that people will donate to this year’s campaign. Included are 2 free PDFs from the M.E. association and other useful informational links at the end of the blog.

Our Story

We live in Scotland. In February 2016, our son who had been happy and healthy , suddenly became unwell with 2 weeks of gastric symptoms after eating an in date, properly heated chicken ready meal.  After 2 weeks, the GP decided to check him for e-coli, campylobacter and salmonella. All 3 results were clear. Further tests for bacterial infection, limes disease, thyroid and diabetes were also clear. After 2 weeks he was exhausted, slept all but 4 hours a day from 6pm to 10pm and would not eat or drink much. Several weeks later still the same. The GP told us that this was just a virus and would go in its’ own time. It was diagnosed as post viral fatigue, quite common. Several months later he was still not able to attend school and still sleeping so in frustration we asked about a Paediatric referral but were told that there was no point as all the tests had been carried out. We sought an independent opinion to find out that there was only one specialist in Aberdeen dealing with endocrinological issues for anyone under 16 in Scotland. With an exhausted child who had extreme light sensitivity, felt dizzy and sick and could not travel anywhere or handle even small noises this was not an option. We were advised the best idea would be an endocrinologist or gastroenterologist to cover hormones, gastric and all other options. We saw both!

The gastroenterologist did not believe in the condition and was of no use other than suggesting a colonoscopy and gastroscopy to check if he had an upset stomach. The M.E. nurse advised against general anaesthetic with ME. The endocrinologist confirmed M.E (which is one of the hardest things to get a confirmed diagnosis for). He felt that our son would get better very soon but could not suggest anything other than trying to get into some sort of routine.

We began searching the web who to get the best  advice from and came across the ME association Facebook page. This was a great help. We contacted Dr Charles Shepherd of the ME Association who suggested getting in touch with the homeopathic hospital at Gartnavel. We were assigned an M.E. nurse who had experienced M.E herself and  who was very supportive and recommended a gluten free diet to cure the gut initially. Although she could advise and recommend homeopathic things to try she could not treat our son as he was 14 rather than over 16. The centre can only deal with adults for rehabilitation and monitoring. We started chatting online with some other ME association Facebook users with teens in similar situations which was both depressing but also in some ways encouraging to hear that others were coping with their education in some way despite their illness.


The problem with ME is that there IS no routine. Some days the sufferer sleeps all day and are up all night. Some days they sleep all day and night. Some days they are up and sleep more or less normal hours. The problem being everyone’s symptoms differ but more or less with our son we can confirm these trends:

  • Permanent pain all over the body which moves about in severity and which no painkiller works for
  • Brain fog so they cannot read or write easily and forget things
  • Pain and fatigue when talking or walking, dressing, showering, using stairs or even getting up out of bed
  • Pain during sleep that wakes them even if they do sleep and no sleep relieves the pain or fatigue
  • Off food and not wanting to eat anything
  • When they do eat, there are gastric issues within half an hour of eating
  • Eating any sugar seems to completely flatten them so they need to sleep within 15 minutes or so of eating even the slightest amount.

The symptoms differ from person to person and some are so severe they are wheelchair and house bound. As a result, over a period of time sufferers can also become quite depressed – out of school, missing their friends, no social interaction other than online and no normal lifestyle.

Where we are now

Eventually we obtained a referral to a Paediatrician who redid all the tests to re-diagnose M.E. herself. The biggest help has been the M.E. nurse referring us to a Physiotherapist who has not been able to do any work but has chatted to us and actually asked the real question “But who is helping you both coordinate all this between school, physio, psychology, ophthalmology, M.E. nurse, GP, dietitian, and specialists?” The answer here was MUM! She referred us on to a NHS paediatrician who has helped coordinate all the appointments. For school the ASN (additional support needs) Outreach tutor has got involved to offer an hour a week helping coordinate school work. If your child develops what looks like M.E. then I highly recommend getting put under even a general NHS specialist so that for all future specialists’ appointments and education needs, all have access to your confirmed diagnosis. Insist your GP do this referral early on. You need the NHS to help get educational assistance that your child is entitled to.

Lessons Learned

Dealing with work has been hard. I have my own business so can work from home in the afternoons. We also have grandparents in the same street. A good personal support network is important. I have spoken to others who have had to permanently give up their work. Not easy if you have financial constraints. Also, dealing with friends and family can be hard. No one understands unless they know someone who has M.E. They ask if you are better today or getting better. This can be frustrating as there are not continual signs of improvement with ME. It’s a roller coaster. It’s said that sufferers normally just suddenly improve over a few days and there is no build up to this. Some sufferers, unfortunately never recover.

Dealing with people who think you are a “weak parent” and should just MAKE them go in to school or MAKE them walk up the street is difficult. I have found that it’s best to walk away and not get into the conversation. It’s unhelpful and you need to understand that they just don’t get it. Not everyone will. The PACE method (balancing activity and rest to help manage M.E) can have mixed results. It works for some and not for others. M.E. is not like a physical muscular problem. Pull a muscle then you loosen it up and walk a bit more each day, build it up and hey presto, you are then better. With M.E. you walk out into the back garden and can be sleeping the next 3 days or walk a bit further because you feel better and you can be flattened for a week.

There has also been some press about ME being a psychological problem. This can be unhelpful and hurtful. You try to be in pain for a year, not go out of the house, not attend school, not see friends, not be able to think straight, not eat, not cope with light without headaches and then be told it’s in your head! I read one teenagers’ story saying ME is equivalent to doing a transatlantic flight 3 times in a row without sleeping, then going in to work and working through the night, not having any food or drink while doing this then repeating this for weeks on end and then trying to do a normal daily routine. That’s M.E.

I hope that if anyone is struggling with this illness or knows someone who is, or you empathise for people with ME by reading this blog, then please donate so that a cure can be found. Here’s the link to donate: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/meassociation/goblue4me-2017

M.E. affects children and adults, and there is no real understanding of who is getting it and why. A cure is needed and hopefully soon.


MD of Labels4Kids

Helpful sites




M.E. related e-books



BBC Podcast on M.E.

Listen from 1 hour 33 minutes in the recording

Listen here




5 Allergy and Medical Alert Tips for your Kids

If your child has an allergy or any other medical condition, you want to make sure that teachers, friends and family are aware of this. Carrying around a letter with long-winded advice can be quite inconvenient and time-consuming. Here are some tips on how you can make your child’s (and your own) life easier when living with a medical condition.

1. Talk to your child

mum and child (1)

Especially if your child is very young, make sure to explain why he or she cannot do the same thing friends can do. If he or she has to miss out on certain activities, try and suggest alternatives so they don’t feel left out. Encourage them to be honest about how they feel and make sure they understand their illness; for example, why they have to eat special biscuits instead of the ones their friends bring to school.

2. Make hospital appointments fun

Well… we all know that going to see the doctor isn’t the most fun activity ever. But there are definitely ways to make these visits more pleasant for you and your child. When I was a child and had to go to the hospital for check-ups every week, my parents would often take me to the nearby botanical garden or we would have a meal somewhere after the appointment. So I actually have lots of good memories of that time! Pack their favourite book, a board game or, if you have time, plan a fun activity before or after the appointment – the visits won’t seem quite as bad as before.

3. Talk to teachers or carers

medicine box

Your child spends a lot of time at school, so it is important that teachers know about their medical condition. This will also be useful if your child needs to take time off school for doctor’s appointments. Our bag and jacket tags are an excellent way to label items such as bags and coats and have all the important information handy. Our bag tags offer space for 4 lines –  plenty of room for your emergency contact details and a medical alert image. Thanks to the bright colours, the bag tags are very easy to spot, too!

4. Vinyl Allergy Labels


Our Allergy Labels are handy and quick to design as they come with selection of different allergy symbols. They are easily visible, dishwasher-safe and handy for personal belongings such as lunchboxes and bottles. Alternatively, we offer large vinyl labels which you can customise with even more images and your own text.

5. Be prepared when travelling


When travelling with young children, you want to make sure that all the important information is easily visible. Our handy ID bands offer enough space for an emergency contact number and important information like allergies. If you are looking for a more elegant look, our satin wristbands are perfect. Any medical appliances like inhalers, insulin pens and other objects can be labelled with our vinyl labels.

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