You Can Afford Christmas After All

We all know how it goes with the run up to Christmas. The kids are over excited from about November, the decorations go up, the parties commence and the food and drinks flow. With everyone having an absolute blast at this time of year, you can’t help but feel you’re the only one sitting back and wondering…how the hell am I going to afford it all…again?! It seems you have only just gotten over the effect of last year’s festivities on your bank balance, only to be knocked right back again with the 25th December looming very close on the horizon. Of course, you’ll get those that say Christmas shouldn’t be about money, but when you’ve got kids expecting presents from Santa just like the kids at school, along with a house to heat and a table needing food, it definitely begins to feel like it.

Christmas with young sprogs
You know you’ll battle through, you do every year, but what if there was something that could make it all that little bit easier?

The Social Fund is designed to help those families on a low income in times of need. The fund can come in the form of one-off or occasional payments that are there to see you through when times are particularly tough. If you do meet the requirements, you can be entitled to payments such as the Budgeting Loan, which helps with essential lump sum expenses and if you are already claiming benefits and have been doing so for 26 weeks or more, you may be entitled to receive one of these. Of course like any loan, the Budgeting Loan does require a repayment, but the difference is the loan is interest free so there is little to no stress when paying it back.

What can I use the loan for?

Of course, the loan is there for those that really are struggling, so buying the kids an Xbox for Christmas is not what this money should go towards. But if you qualify, you can use the money to pay things such as travel expenses (travelling to and from work/taking the kids to school), clothing and footwear to make sure the children are fully equipped for winter and any improvements that need to be done on your home (broken sink in the bathroom, dodgy front door, uneven floorboards, peeling paint– we feel you). If you are unemployed and want to start looking, the Budgeting loan can also be used to help with expenses that come with getting/starting a job (travel, new clothes, equipment etc). If you have something such as a funeral to pay for, you should check whether you are entitled to help from the Social Fun for this as this is a loan that does not require repayment.

young happy sprog at christmas time

How do I apply?

The easiest way to apply for a Budgeting Loan is to visit your local Job Centre Plus, where you can ask for form SF500. The form will ask a number of questions, all of which unfortunately do have to be answered. Take your time with the form to ensure you’ve answered all of the questions correctly. You do not have to specify how exactly you are going to spend the Budgeting Loan (you may not even know yourself yet) but you will be required to list a number of expenses that you need the Budgeting Loan for such, as children, house maintenance and travel.

If you think you could be entitled to the Budgeting Loan, please don’t suffer in silence. There is no harm in applying for a loan, even if you are not sure if anything will come of it.

This entry was posted in Blog.

How to keep children entertained at a wedding

weddingkids

Weddings are a special day for almost everyone. However, one demographic of people who don’t always get swept up in the beauty and glamour of a wedding are the little ones. No matter how great the wedding reception is, children of young ages are likely to get a little bored if there isn’t enough there to keep their playful spirits occupied. So, when you are organising your own wedding, how do you cater for the kids that are going to be attending? We have a few ideas for you…

Hire a bouncy castle

Don’t underestimate how much time children can spending bouncing up and down. If it is within your budget, hiring a bouncy castle will provide them with endless hours of entertainment. It might even be a hit with the grown-ups later in the evening once the booze starts flowing.

Face painting

There might not be many ways to keep a group of children still whether you are at a wedding or not. But one thing they’ll certainly sit patiently for is a face painting. They can turn themselves into their favourite superhero or Disney princess.

Have a kids table for the meal

Kids will quickly get bored surrounded by the grown-ups and their adult conversations as the meals are served. Wedding organisers may, therefore, be interested in having a special table for the kids with their own set menu and some puzzle or board games to play (i.e. word searches, colouring books, funny hats they can customise). You may even consider hiring someone to look after them for a few hours.

And maybe even one for the evening do

Children may not always be inclined to join in the dancing, so you could extend this kids table idea to the evening portion of your event. A particularly good idea may be to give them some wedding themed arts and crafts to do – designing their own dresses, creating their own hand-drawn cakes or making cards.

Stock or hire a candy table

Nothing keeps children entertained like some delicious candy. You may have already considered a chocolate fountain, but you could also look into a large sweet cart or ice cream vendor to really bring a smile to the faces of the little ones at your wedding.

This entry was posted in Blog.

Kids’ Party Ideas For 2015

1. Frozenfrozen-themed-party

Probably the most popular kids’ movie of 2013 (and 2014), Frozen-themed birthday partieshave  skyrocketed in recent months.

Start by asking all of your guests to dress up in a Frozen-themed outfit; whether that’s one of the characters or a simple frosty frock. The Birthday In A Box website has a ton of accessories and props, from Frozen pinatas, balloons and banners, to thmelted-olafemed cutlery and even a winter candy buffet kit!

If you prefer to do things a littlemore DIY, Babble.com has tons of ideas, from snowmen milkbottles to Olaf banana treats and frozen hot chocolate recipes. Use a snowflake cookie cutter to make everything snowflake-shaped (yes, even sandwiches!).

And when it comes to making things look shimmery, silver glitter is your friend. (Except perhaps not the day after…)

2. LEGO

Lego has been one of the most popular kids’ toys since its very creation, and that doesn’t look set to change anytime soon! You can be sure that a LEGO-themed party lego-themed-partywill be a hit with other kids and never go out of style.

Try serving Lego-decorated cupcakes along with a Lego-brick shaped birthday cake, and stick to the main primary colours of red, blue, green, yellow, black and white for your decorations. There are many LEGO party packs available, which include Lego character-straws, photo booth props, bunting and even invitations. Just speak to your local LEGO store or click here for more inspiration.

3. Minecraft

If a LEGO- themed party is on the cards, then why not Minecraft? Since going mainstream, the addictive game has been likened to ‘virtual Lego’ and has played the same role in stimulating kids’ cminecraft-cakereativity since its inception.

There is a plethora of places online from which to get your Minecraft props and accessories, including Printabell (for invitations); Etsy (Minecraft pinata), and the blog Homemayde Cakes (for full tutorials on Minecraft-themed baking). You’ll also want to get your banners, bunting and cupcake toppers from The Party Animal.

4. Soft Play Parties

If you don’t fancy the idea of letting kids loose in your home, soft-play party venues are a perfect option for kids with lots of energy. Venues like Spaceworld are a perfect choice for kids’ parties in Liverpool as they provide a secure environment in which kids can play, learn and improve motor skills. (And parents have a prime chance to relax!)soft-play-party

If you choose a themed soft-play center, why not stick to that theme for the rest of your party? Get kids to dress as astronauts for an outer space-themed center, or as wild animals for a jungle-themed one. You can give away party bags to reflect the ongoing theme and maybe even translate it to the birthday cupcakes.

5. Trip to the Zoo

A trip to the zoo can be perfect for very young children who may wish for a quieter birthday. Not recommended for large groups of children, but for smaller groups of kids it can be a dream – particularly if you’ve got a couple of other parents on hand to help.

Involve the kids by dressing them up as their favourite animal (this can be a perfect opportunity to get the facepaints andzoo-birthday-party cute animal onesies out!) Guide kids around the zoo and tell them about the animals they’re seeing. Allow them plenty of time to play with the interactive information points the zoo has to offer and use the experience as a chance to teach them about respect to animals.

Many zoos like Chester Zoo specially cater for kids’ birthday parties, including great perks like unlimited drinks, ice cream and pre-mapped explorer trails.

This entry was posted in Blog.

Welcome to Our Space Play

Our Space Play is the place to be to find all information about kids playing activities.

Our Blog will be updated all of the time, giving you reviews, Childrens play ideas and locations to visit with your little ones.

Come back soon!

This entry was posted in News.