Why Ascot is just as much for the ladies, as it is the men!

When it comes to the pinnacle of horse racing, there really is nowhere else to look aside from The Royal Ascot. With its prestige, glamour and excitement, it is truly a royal occasion that simply cannot be missed. It is however, as much a trip for the ladies as it is the men, despite the thinking of many that horse racing is simply for the male punters out there.

In fact, The Royal Ascot even has its very own day for women who enjoy the sport of horse racing, which is conveniently, and just as simply, branded as ‘Ladies Day’. This doesn’t stop the ladies flocking in for the other days of the race meeting however, with the warm weather paired with the opportunity to get the best dresses and headgear out, proving all too tempting. If you have a week away from work, or even just a day, a day at the races offers ample opportunity for fun and enthrallment.   medium_16750308   With just five races on the card, The Great War (5/4 with Betfair) could be the perfect horse to get you off to the perfect start when betting on ‘Ladies Day’ at Ascot, which is on Thursday. The horse, which runs in the first race of the day, at 2:30pm, has won two races thus far in its brief career, the latest a resounding success at the Curragh under jockey Aidan O’Brien, who is on board once more tomorrow. Another horse that could break the mould on Thursday is Abbey Village (SP), who will be looking to win the 5:00pm race, which is the second to last of the day.

Alternatively, you could opt to go on the weekend day of the meeting, with many race-goers opting to consider that as a ‘Family Day’, with children also attending the event. This could prove to be the perfect day out in the warm weather as a family, all the while staking your bets in the hope of making a bit of extra money whilst having fun.

If, however, you are not able to attend, then you can always place your bets online, with some sites such as Betfair allowing you to stream the races, in order to experience the action from wherever you are. At betfair.com you can place all your bets with the advantage of seeing better odds than on other betting sites, due to the fact it is an exchange market. This means you can not only stake against other people, but also oppose a fellow player’s selection, which is what is known as ‘laying’ a selection.

 photo credit: gaspi *yg via photopin cc

Permanent link to this article: http://www.starsandroses.co.uk/ascot-just-much-ladies-men/

Get your child involved with the World Cup

The World Cup is the largest sporting competition in the world, as well as the most watched. This time about, the action takes place in Brazil, which is four hours behind the UK, but that doesn’t mean that you and your children will not be able to catch the action.

With the football matches kicking-off at 5pm, 9pm and 11pm, your child can definitely watch the early kick-off whilst at the weekend you could take a gamble and allow them to watch the 9pm game as well, especially if England are playing.

So why is it important that you involve your child with the World Cup?

One of the main reasons for getting your child to watch the World Cup is to help them develop a sporting interest. If they watch a few football games, which at the World Cup are completely enthralling, your child should develop an affinity towards the sport. The natural knock-on effect of this would be them wanting to join their local football team, which is good for two reasons. One, engaging in sport has numerous health benefits, and two, joining a team helps your child develop their social skills. For many who have been involved in a football side from an earlier age, the people they meet there usually become friends for life.




The World Cup also serves an educational purpose. With 32 countries taking part it is the ultimate geography lesson. By the end of the tournament your child will probably be able to tell which flag belongs to each country and which country belongs to each continent. By having a vested interest in the teams competing, your child’s inquisitive nature will run wild. For example, they may research England’s Group D opposition Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. When before would you have envisaged your child researching Costa Rica on a whim? This in turn will also see an improvement in literacy skills as your child is actively, not forcibly, engaging in reading.

Sticker books are a fundamental part of the World Cup, even nowadays grown men need to have an album every tournament. The benefits of buying your child a sticker album are pretty surprising. Firstly, because it is theirs they have a sense of ownership and responsibility, which is an important characteristic to instil in your child from an early age. But what’s more is the sense of commerce and entrepreneurship your child can get from the humble sticker book. Anyone who has had a book in the past will know that you have to participate in trade if you are to have any chance of completing your book, your child will be no different. So through the World Cup sticker book your child can learn some primitive business ideas. Every swap they make will involve them doing their own sort of cost-benefit-analysis, which for an eight-year-old kid, is a pretty nifty trait to have.

So come June 12 make sure you and your children are enjoying the World Cup.


photo credit: DGTX via photopin cc

Permanent link to this article: http://www.starsandroses.co.uk/get-your-child-involved-with-the-world-cup/

Does your child have a favourite character or author?

Fictional characters are every where in a children’s life, from the TV to books, video games and even clothing. Does your child have a favourite? Are they a book worm, and do they have a favourite author?

Alana didn’t even have to even think about an answer when I asked her those 2 questions. Straight away she replied Harry Potter and J K Rowling! I recently took her for a day out at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour as she is absolutely besotted by the whole cast of Harry Potter. If you have your own little Harry Potter fan, I really recommend the Studio Tour and don’t forget to taste some of the famous ButterBeer available half way around the tour.


Hogwarts Great Hall Harry Potter


A recent survey carried out on 800 parents in UK showed 12% also have children who love Harry Potter with him taking the lead.  The results of the survey were provided by Fancydressball.co.uk. Looking through the list I can see Harriets favourite character, Mickey Mouse.   She loves MickeyMouse Club House on Disney Junior channel. Dominiks favourite is probably Thomas the Tank Engine, he has the train tracks and the DVDs.



What is your child’s favourite fictional childrens character? What is your child’s favourite fictional author?
Character Percentage Author Percentage
Harry Potter 12.60% J K Rowling 10.50%
Gruffalo 2.40% Enid Blyton 7.80%
Peter Pan 2.20% Roald Dahl 6.30%
Noddy 1.80% Julia Donaldson 1.80%
Peppa Pig 1.20% David Walliams 1.50%
Thomas The Tank Engine 1% Jaqueline Wilson 1.50%
Bob The Builder 0.90% AA Milne 1.00%
Horrid Henry 0.90% JRR Tolkien 0.50%
Mickey Mouse 0.70% Michael Morpurgo 0.50%
Batman 0.60% Terry Pratchett 0.50%


Looking through the list of authors, I am quite surprised to see some classics like Enid Blyton and Terry Pratchett, these authors were my favourite as a child.  What are your children’s favourite, can you see them in the list?


Permanent link to this article: http://www.starsandroses.co.uk/does-your-child-have-a-favourite-character-or-author/

How does your dog’s diet change with age?

Think about your diet as you grew from a baby into an adult. For most of us, this would have consisted of milk, then baby food, then solid food that we rarely eat anymore. Our portion sizes will have grown, and we will have changed our focus gradually from a diet based around growth and energy, to one tailored more towards long-term health.

This is true of most creatures, and dogs are no exception. They have different nutritional needs throughout every stage of their life. However, while dog owners often make sure puppies are given specialised food, the same attention is rarely paid to the diets of older dogs.


fang dog harry potter studio tour


As a dog gets older, their metabolism slows down. This means that the amount of energy needed by the body to function gets lower, so elderly dogs need less food. This is important to bear in mind, as owners often overfeed older dogs as they do not realise their pet needs less food than before.

This can lead to obesity, and as with many other health conditions the effects of this can be more intense with old age. A good method to use in order to prevent this is to feed your dog several small meals a day, rather than one or two larger ones. That way your pet is less likely to overeat, and you can keep better track of their food consumption.

Another way to prevent this is to make sure your dog gets plenty of gentle exercise. Older dogs are less active, which can contribute heavily to weight gain. Make sure they are able to go for reasonable walks, so they can maintain a fairly active lifestyle long into their later years.

Your dog may also need a more palatable diet than before. Older dogs do not have as strong digestive systems as younger pooches, so they are less able to handle typical dry dog food. Standard, cheaper brands are too high in carbohydrates for older dogs to properly digest, so it is much better to opt for a higher-quality wet food.

It is also worth opting for a more premium brand of dog food with a higher meat content to improve your dog’s enjoyment of their meals. Older dogs can lose their sense of smell, and therefore taste, so low-quality foods can seem bland to them. This can lead to them losing their appetite, and under-eating.


sprocker spaniel white ear


If your dog has a more specific health concern, you can tailor their diet to help with this. For example, dogs that develop issues with their hearts usually benefit from a diet with reduced sodium. As such, it is a good idea to check the salt content of any food you feed them. Similarly, dogs who develop cancer can benefit from antioxidants such as omega-three oils.

Try to make sure your dog is also getting the vitamins and other nutrients that will help them with the problems of old age in general. For example, vitamins C and E can help bolster an elderly dog’s weaker immune system. You could also consider making sure your dog gets some glucosamine in their diet, for stronger joints.

For high-quality dog food that would suit the diet of an older dog, click here.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.starsandroses.co.uk/how-does-your-dogs-diet-change-with-age/

Silentnight’s National Bed Month

Did you know March is national bed month? Time to get some decent sleep! Although I am guilty of always working late on the computer, crawling into bed in the early hours, up early for school run without breakfast. So with this collaboration with Silentnight and Warburtons I am going to be sleeping like a baby and waking up as fresh as a daisy.




Research by Silentnight show some quite shocking results, we put checking our emails and twitter feed before making time to eat any thing. Are you guilty of prioritising your emails over your breakfast?

Watch this video to see Dr Nerina giving some advice about getting a good nights sleep.



I never struggle to sleep, probably because I am so tired from working, but I never wake up fresh and energetic. As soon as I am awake I grab my phone to check my social media and emails, then jump out of bed to get the girls to school, on the odd day I grab a banana before starting work. I feel sluggish and tired by 11am.

So thanks to Warburtons I am going to be enjoying some hearty breakfasts every day, and some peaceful nights sleep.  What is your favourite breakfast? Why not for the rest of March take the time to have breakfast and see how much better you feel.



fancy a cuppa



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