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Talking about Underage Drinking

underage drinking

With an almost teenager in the house, underage drinking and all of the dangers it entails is an issue that is important to us right now. I’m not a big drinker, but I do enjoy the odd glass, though obviously not right now being pregnant! Papa drinks occasionally at home, and if he goes out. The kiddos have grown up with us having parties now and then where alcohol is involved. We’ve always talked, and been open and honest about why people drink, the effects it has on us, and why it’s not good to drink too much.

I’m not anti-drinking, however, I want my children to grow up knowing the facts, to be able to talk to me, and to have the confidence to make their own decisions. Open lines of communication are essential, I do believe that outright banning anything simply makes children more inclined to go and do it anyway, as well as doing it behind their parents back. As a teenager, I was allowed to have the occasional drink at home, a glass of wine with a Sunday Roast, the odd drink at Christmas time or a wedding. Because I could, I didn’t’ feel the need to drink to excess behind my parent’s back.

My eldest is eleven and a half, so not quite at an age where she is out on her own in an evening, or at a friends house where there may be unsupervised access to alcohol just yet, but now is the key time to talk to her. We’ve discussed before why drinking is dangerous, especially for teenagers – there is clear evidence that alcohol can harm the developing brain, bones and hormones, as well as the increased risk of injuries, sexual activity and substance misuse.

Teaching alcohol responsibility begins at home, if your children see you drinking responsibly, they are more likely to do so themselves. Teaching our children that it is alright to say no, that you don’t have to drink just because your friends are, and to have the confidence in themselves to walk away are essentials. Making sure that 10-13 year olds are fully aware of the facts is incredibly important.

I’ve been looking through the Drinkaware website – they have a great section on Underage Drinking and all of the associated risks. It’s made me think about things, and actually encouraged me to have a more specific chat with Lola. It’s a great website, if you’re unsure of the dangers there is a list of all the risks underage drinking comes with. I especially like the ‘How to talk to your child‘ section – if you’re struggling to raise this subject with your children, or unsure of how to answer the questions that they have, this is full of fantastic advice.

Have you talked to your children about the dangers of underage drinking? Do you think it’s an important issue for parents to be aware of?

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have full editorial control and all opinions are my own.

Winter Vegetables; a Planting and Eating Guide

Winter Vegetables; a Planting and Eating Guide

According to the Daily Mail, a new study by Birds Eye has revealed that ten per cent of adults eat fewer vegetables than they did as a child. One in seven said they do not eat the recommended quantity of vegetables because they struggle to find exciting ways to cook them, while a quarter avoid them because they do not know how to cook them at all. With winter on the way, it is essential that you eat well and incorporate vegetables into your diet. Food is a vital source of energy in helping your body stay warm during the cold weather.

If you regularly grow your own vegetables, by planting seeds you can readily buy from the likes of spaldingbulb.co.uk, winter is the perfect time to cook up a soup, stew or casserole, packed with healthy veggies. You could even make your own Christmas dinner with your home grown vegetables! Below is a lowdown on some of the most popular vegetables to enjoy this winter, and how to grow them yourself:

Kale

Although grown in warmer climates, Kale is at its best during the colder seasons. This vegetable is packed with vitamins and minerals and is perfect to add to a vegetable soup or use for a winter salad. After being washed, they can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Carrots

From cake and pie to the classic roast dinner, the humble carrot can spice up any winter meal. Carrots can be grown all year round and can even be grown in containers or in a greenhouse if you don’t have enough space, so there’s no excuse not to eat your veggies!

Leeks

Steam them, boil them, use in a soup or add to a cheese sauce, leeks are a flavoursome winter vegetable and a favourite for many of us. Leeks are grown in the spring and are fairly easy to do so, although they will need to be sown in containers or in a separate part of the garden before being moved to their final position. They’ll be ready to pick just in time for winter.

Parsnips

Although parsnips need a long growing season, they are well worth the wait if you want them in time for Christmas dinner or to add to those hearty soups. Sow seeds early in the spring and you can look forward to fully grown parsnips in the autumn/winter.

Brussels sprouts

Because winter wouldn’t be the same without them! Brussels are best sown from March to April, planted out in April to June for harvest from November through to March. Add them to your Christmas turkey dinner or serve with bacon as a delicious buffet treat. According to the RHS, they taste much better when harvested from the garden after being frosted than when bought from the shop.

Potatoes

There are many different varieties of potatoes, and different ways to grow them. If you have a frost free-greenhouse, conservatory or bright porch, potatoes can be planted in August ready for harvest at Christmas, just in time to make those crispy golden roast potatoes.