Draft Elective Home Education (EHE) Guidance: What’s The Problem?

You may or may not be aware that the Government is currently consulting on new draft EHE guidance. We, like many other home educators across the country, strongly oppose these new guidelines because we believe them to be unnecessarily restrictive and intrusive.

Our ultimate objective is to secure the home ed status quo, support action to reduce off-rolling, highlight the good work being done by parents, and put the focus back on OFSTED to deal with schools (including unregistered ones) rather than putting the blame on home educators. We urge the Government to put the huge financial cost and resources it would take to implement the draft EHE guidance to far better use.

Please sign this national petition to help us.

It takes less than a minute to complete the process of signing it. The reason why we are asking people to do so is to show the government that people all over the country are angry about what they are proposing to do. Please take a minute to sign it.

Please also take time to respond to the consultation. You do not need to be a home educator to do so.

Fill in the online consultation by clicking here

It has been made really easy by following this guide:

Dare To Know Blog – guidance for completing EHE consultation

The most effective way is to respond to the consultation online. Alternative contact details though are as follows…

Email: HomeEducation.consultation@education.gov.uk

Write to:
Elective Home Education: Call for Evidence
Independent Education and Boarding Team
Department for Education
Bishopsgate House
Feethams
Darlington
DL1 5QE

A note about SEND children

As a parent of an SEND child, who also has a severe anxiety disorder, the guidance is particularly concerning. This is because it proposes the potential for intrusive monitoring, and invasion of personal space, that could badly trigger anxieties and be detrimental to a child’s mental health.

Many autistic children, especially those with high anxiety – as is often the case – would potentially find it distressing to have a stranger enter their home, which is their safe space in an overwhelming world, and/ or be subject to a stranger speaking to them alone, due to their social and communication difficulties. Also, there is a genuine concern that the parents themselves might incorrectly be seen as non-compliant, because some people do not understand child refusal.

Whilst many families would view such procedures as inconvenient or intrusive, autistic families could find it a whole other degree of stressful and it has the potential to dramatically affect their mental health. For some, it could be extremely distressing should this draft policy come into action.

Whilst, theoretically at least, exceptions could be made for such children, it is likely in reality that parents would have to then fight for their child’s needs – and voice – to be heard. So it would be far preferable for these rights to be protected for all children, not just those most vulnerable to its impact.

FAQs about the draft EHE guidance

What’s wrong with having a home education register?

In short, optional registration for some kind of service is entirely different to compulsory registers for the purpose of tracking and monitoring.

Registering for a service is different. E.g. registering at a dentist, a doctor, library or a school – you are registering to receive a particular service at a particular place. The registration is so that the service knows who uses its services and often so that the service gets funded. You can choose to stop using the service at any point, and be removed from the register.

The other forms of registration are mandatory, based on a particular characteristic. Not to receive a service, but so that the individuals can be tracked and monitored. Why do home educators need this? If the argument was for a compulsory register of say muslims, or LGBT, you would most likely see the issue with it!

Why are you opposed to the government offering support? Surely that is a good thing!

Support – if it is actually helpful i.e. the right kind of support for that individual/ family – can most certainly be a very good thing of course! But when ‘support’ is really a code word for interference from authority figures who do not necessarily understand the family’s needs, or the value of different educational approaches, this can actually be somewhat detrimental to say the least.

The consultation has just two questions in the support section, yet 7 in registration, and 9 about monitoring. That should probably give most people a clue about the true purpose of the guidance!

It is somewhat like suggesting that OFSTED really only comes into schools to offer support!

But if it saves just one child…

This argument comes up often! But it short-sighted. Whilst, in theory, it could save a child from abuse (although statistically, there are far less abuse cases amongst home educators than school children anyway, and I am not even going to get into all the other reasons why this argument misses the point!) in reality the number of children it could actually harm with its interference is undoubtedly far, far higher.

Children who were removed from school due to bullying, kids with fragile mental health and/ or severe anxiety, could be irreversibly damaged – or lives lost to suicide – because of a system that is supposedly intended to protect vulnerable children.

As home educators, we are looking at the bigger picture and seeing the otherside of the coin. The Government sadly appears to be dismissing such concerns.

Surely if you have nothing to hide, what is the issue?

Firstly, see all the points above.

Secondly, if a stranger demanded entry into your home and started searching through your stuff just incase you had stolen something – with no actual evidence, or even a good reason to suspect you are guilty, other than that you happen to do your shopping at a particular store – would you mind? Would that be ok with you?! No, I didn’t think so. Not ok with us either.

As another example, I am not carrying a concealed weapon – it doesn’t mean I am happy to walk around naked to prove it to everyone! For the comfort of everyone, let’s just assume I’m not 😉

We have a right to quiet privacy in our home and wanting to protect that right does not make anyone criminals. And the truth is, there is absolutely no logic in suggesting otherwise!

But children have rights! We need to make sure all children have a good education!

We agree! That is exactly why we are fighting to protect our freedom and rights to home educate as it stands currently!!!

The draft guidance is extremely heavy- handed and unnecessary. It invades our children’s privacy, and restricts our educational choices. Sometimes children do need a different approach to education, such as SEND children for example.

Education is not, should not and cannot, be a one-size-fits-all approach. Square pegs, round holes…

The bottom line is: whatever your opinion is on education, please support our freedom and right to choose.

Most In-Demand Teaching Subjects

Are you thinking of a career change to move into teaching? Or already qualified and wondering which subjects are most in demand? A lot of newspaper columns have been dedicated to the ‘teacher crisis’ but what exactly is the biggest problem? Is it from the National Curriculum changes or are teachers in key subjects leaving the profession?

Most In-Demand Teaching Subjects

According to The Guardian, schools filled about half of vacant posts in 2015-2016 with qualified teachers who had the experience and expertise required. So the government will be striving to improve the education system by attracting and training new teachers and retaining existing ones in the near future.

If you are contemplating whether it is worthwhile looking at Teacher Training Cambridgeshire or doing a PGCE course, it will help to know which subjects are currently the most in demand:

• Biology
• Maths
• Physics
• RE
• Geography
• Music
• Computer Science

It is also anticipated that the foreign languages will be impacted by tougher immigration rules in the UK. So increasing numbers of vacancies, coupled with the increases in pupils (baby boom) will mean that there will be considerable vacancies for most of these subjects in the next few years, providing the budget allows for it.

When you reflect on the areas where there are problems in recruiting people with the right skills, IT is a growing issue. The topmost in-demand jobs in the UK are dominated by IT-related jobs and given the huge advances in technology we are seeing, it is a pattern that will only continue if changes are not made. So computer science will have a much bigger focus in coming years and teachers with skills and experience in this area will be in high demand. The curriculum has already been adapted to introduce coding and other important IT skills but we can expect even more changes in the near future to take into account the skills gaps in the current recruitment market.

Like with most professions, there are plenty of pros and cons in the teaching profession. A lot of former teachers attribute increased workload as to the reason for their decision to leave, as well as the greater scrutiny and pressure of Ofsted inspections and other observations/ expectations.

A teacher with a group of students around a table

However, there are also many great benefits such as the long holidays – which averages around 13 weeks per year. (Although most teachers do work for at least part of these holidays!) When you compare this to other industries, where 4 weeks is common and 6 weeks is good, it is much better. The school day is much shorter than a 9-5 job and although teachers have planning, marking, assessments, meetings and tonnes of other work to do outside of these hours, having the option to sometimes leave at 3/ 3.30pm is a big bonus and can be useful for childcare arrangements. Similarly, the summer holidays are a great benefit when you consider you would otherwise be making childcare arrangements.

Whilst the salary starts relatively low, it soon increases, so if you are happy to wait a few years you will soon have a better salary. The pension package for teachers is ranked in the top 10 jobs, despite changes being made that make them less favourable than they used to be.

A teacher pointing to a world map

Then, of course, there is also the fulfilment you can get from helping pupils to develop skills and build a promising future. The sense of impact you feel when working with disadvantaged children, the joy of seeing the exam results that get them into a good college and set them up for a successful career. If you love working with children then there is no better job to do than teaching.

* Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Brighten Up Walls With Some Wallsauce!

Do you rooms look a little dull? Are you trying to find a fun way to brighten up your walls? Or even trying to find new ways to improve your wellbeing? Whether you are designing the ideal child’s bedroom, creating a tranquil bedroom environment, decorating your cosy home office space, or perhaps even making a sensory therapy room – Wallsauce wallpaper murals might well be your perfect solution!

Brighten up walls with Wallsauce

Their beautiful murals will help you to create the perfect environment, whatever look you are trying to achieve. There are over a million designs to choose from; including fine art, fun kids murals, funky patterns and stunning scenes. You can also upload your own photography too!

I spent ages browsing their website just for fun, mentally redesigning every room in our home! There are so many amazing images to choose from. Here are some of my favourites…

Landscape Theme

The collection of landscape theme wallpapers are just so stunning, I literally couldn’t find a single one I wouldn’t love on my wall! Check out the waterfalls, they are particularly gorgeous. The Iceland photos grabbed my attention especially; they are literally the images I have in my head when I am practising visualisation and meditating. Simply beautiful. Here are just a few of the landscape choices available…

Yosemite landscape wallpaper by Wallsauce

Sunset jetty beach wall mural by Wallsauce

River sunset wallpaper by Wallsauce

Beach Scenes

I have written before how important I feel being around water is for our mental health; a concept known as Blue Mind. Therefore I adore the beach scenes and I think they would be fantastic for bringing an air of relaxation to any room in the home. I can imagine sitting in our lounge feeling like we are actually sat on the beach!

Windswept beach mural by Wallsauce

Tropical beach wall mural by Wallsauce

Forest and Tree Wallpaper Murals

Of course I definitely couldn’t go without mentioning this theme! I love the idea of bringing the sights of our natural environment into our home, and these tree images are so serene. They would be lovely in an office space, or in the bedroom – it would feel like camping every night! This birch tree scene is my absolute favourite…

Birch forest sunlight wallpaper

Kids Murals

There are loads of kids murals to choose from. No matter what your child’s interests, no doubt you can pick out the perfect decor for their room. I spotted a fab flamingo design that my flamingo-mad friend’s daughter would love for example! The fairytale scenes are fabulous for catching a young child’s imagination. Or maybe choose a map of the world for some educational value. Squiggle would have loved this arctic ocean scene when she was little…

Arctic puzzle kids wallpaper mural

Fairytale mural in a nursery

World map wallpaper mural

Sensory Room Ideas

If you are creating a sensory room in your home, some of these wallpaper murals would be brilliant for it. Obviously it would depend on the child and what you are trying to achieve – for example, whether it is a low visual chillout area to avoid overstimulation, or a highly stimulating, high sensory input for a sensory seeker – but there are some super funky designs and some nice calm ones too. I love this blue wallpaper if you are looking for something that is simple but not entirely plain…

Blue wallpaper

Whatever look you are going for, in any room, these Wallsauce wallpaper murals will jazz up the space and make designing your home much easier – and way more fun!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. However, I have expressed my honest opinions about these designs! 

The Hidden Costs Of Moving You Should Keep In Mind

Moving homes can be an extremely exciting time in your life. It signifies that the next chapter is on its way, and often this might mean an upgrade in your living situation. If not an upgrade in the physical size of your home or the quality of the area you live in, it might be upgrading your social situation, such as living with your beloved while about to start a family. Moving is an extremely wonderful time for most people, but it does require that we keep aware of all factors we must pay attention to.

Of course, one of the first considerations people think of when moving are the costs involved. This is not surprising; moving home can be very expensive. However, so can the hidden costs, or rather, the costs that seem to spring up the moment you decide to buy. These amounts can build up quickly, so it’s critical to plan for them in advance. Here some of the costs you need to keep in mind when moving home…

The Hidden Costs Of Moving You Should Keep In Mind title house image

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is not particularly a hidden cost, but it can be one that you might not keep in mind. If your home is worth a certain value, the mere act of moving paperwork and taking care of the application process will warrant its own tax. This means you need to calculate this in advance, and you can do so online. This will likely need to be accommodated for, and can obviously be added onto the final house valuation as one of those pre-emptive costs you understand and accept before making an offer. Good property agents will help you make this decision, but so will your own careful calculation. If you plan in advance, there’s no reason why this should limit the kind of property you can afford and search for from the beginning.

Moving Insurance

Moving your belongings from one area to another can be fraught with dangers to your property. Of course, for the most part removal companies are careful and willing to accommodate any and all requests that mean something to you. However, it’s also important to understand that you might need to pay a decent amount ensuring your goods are insured for the entire trip. For short distances, this might not be that much to consider. If moving long distance or even internationally, the cost of transmitting your goods will be much higher, and your insurance might even run into the thousands. It’s important to also factor this into the price of your home, as it’s likely when buying you’ll need to move by a certain date. Contacting your local removals company with the capacity to go long distance is important, because they can likely quote you an amount you can refer to in the future when it comes to budgeting your move.

Notary Public Services

If you are moving internationally, you might well need Notary Public Services to help with authorising legal documents or opening a new bank account, such as the services offered by Prosperity Law. This is another cost to be factored in, but one that could be essential to ensure a smooth move – either as a non UK citizen entering the country, or as a UK citizen opening a bank account abroad, for example.

Damage Collateral

This might not seem like a consideration, but often transporting goods ourselves, especially long distance, can lead to us damaging our own goods. When we damage our own goods we are responsible for them, and mostly no amount of insurance will help us with that. The removals company might mvoe your goods in pristine condition, but t’s always best to consider your own failings in this regard. This is because moving is quite a complex process. You need to not only manuevre your belongings but pack them, transport them and unpack them. It’s not uncommon for a person to drop, damage or incorrectly store items and thus lose out on their value. For example, storing a box in a garage susceptible to moisture might run your sofa cushion covers that you had paid a premium for.

This is not something that is guaranteed or that can even be assigned a set value from the outset, but it can be important to keep in mind. At the very least, having a working extra budget assigned for personal damages can help soften the blow if these things do occur.

Energy Tariff Costs

Of course, setting up your energy tariffs for your home will likely incur a set up charge, particularly if you’re hoping to switch providers. This can potentially take a few days to be provided in the first place also, so it’s important to keep in mind any extra considerations you might have in the first few days of moving. For example, it might be that no gas requires you to focus on takeout food or eating at restaurants – a fine and indulgent method of cheering yourself into your new home.

Some energy tariffs require payment in advance, while others might simply require a call out charge and a setup potential. This can be essentially important to consider when moving in, because you cannot evade this cost by any means at all.

Additional Setup Costs

There are many other costs that might come in apart from your usual energy tariffs. These might be your internet installations, your cable television provisions, and maybe even a payment to your local housing authority for a service rendered. For example, if living in a gated community you might be expected to contribute to the servicing of the front security station keeping your home safe. It could even be that your home has hidden damage in need of repair, such as a broken window or a damaged garage door. Again, allowing your working budget to work with you rather than against you in these circumstances can help you to no end.

In Summary

Before long you will find yourself set up and comfortable in your own home, but that might require some extra financial investment that you might not be realizing when excited to move in. Be sure to keep a large working budget to help you skirt around any issues, and to identify and calculate the costs that might be the most important for you to resolve.

With theses simple tips, you are sure to move into your new place without hassle or worry.

Do you have any moving cost tips to help plan finances and manage money? Tell me in comments!

* This is a collaborative post.

Looking After Your Health

We only have one body (and one brain), so it is vital to take good care of it! As obvious as some of the basic ways to help stay healthy are, they can easily get forgotten about within busy everyday lives. Sometimes a quick reminder prompts us to re-evaluate our current habits and make positive changes. So let’s start with simple daily practices that support good health…

Looking After Your Health text, image of lady running

Daily Habits

Get enough sleep – a good night sleep has numerous benefits; it improves memory, attention and concentration, helps regulate mood, helps you to maintain a healthy weight, fights off inflammation, lowers stress and inspires creativity too!

Be active – move around as much as possible throughout the day, try to avoid sitting for long periods, and exercise regularly. Some practical ways to do this in daily life might include simply taking the stairs instead of the lift, ditching the car and walking or cycling to work, taking a lunchtime walk, joining a gym, taking a fitness class or jogging/ park run. You could also consider a standing desk if you work in an office. These are just a few examples.

Eat healthily – make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of nutritional value. Ensure foods rich in protein, fibre and essential vitamins. Remember your 5 a day! Avoid excess salt, sugar and saturated fats. Drink plenty of water too. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Take time to relax – taking time to enjoy a hobby, reading a book, taking a bath or watching TV; whatever helps you to unwind. Other relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga are also beneficial, or indulge in some art therapy.

Stay connected – whether it is a quick chat with a colleague, catching up with a friend, a phone call to family or sharing your feelings, it is important to talk and stay connected.

Track Your Health At Home

Whilst monitoring your own health at home should not replace consulting with professionals, it is very useful to track your own health at home. The information can be used to motivate yourself to improve your health and pick up any danger signs early. Often the reports from apps and devices can be sent straight to your GP too so that they can monitor results too; which means you can work together more closely with your healthcare provider.

Medical image - stethoscope, pen and notes

Health Concerns – Visiting Your GP

If you are concerned about your health, in the first instance go see your GP. Of course, common illness and ailments can be treated at home, and you can also pop into a pharmacy for advice. But if you have any doubts or niggles about symptoms then do make an appointment asap. There is no need to feel embarrassed or fear you are wasting their time; it is far better to air on the side of caution if you are worried.

Complaints

If you feel you have been fobbed off, be assertive and ensure you are satisfied with the care you receive. You can ask for a second opinion if necessary, or even request to be referred to a specialist. You should also be able to find formal complaints procedures online if needed.

Of course, most of the time professionals do their job extremely well and offer excellent care. Cases of medical negligence are thankfully relatively rare in comparison to the number of people cared for effectively. However, if your care falls below acceptable standards and this directly causes an injury to your health, then you may consider pursuing action.

However, most of the time significant errors do not happen. For the vast majority of people, such mistakes are hopefully not something you will need to think about!

Health Conditions and Treatment

It can be daunting to find out you have a health condition. Remember though that getting a correct diagnosis means that the condition can be treated, or at least managed, in the best way possible, and as soon as possible. Ask questions of professionals and seek support from local groups and networks. Talk to friends and family too. Also try to focus on any positive changes that can be made to potentially improve outcomes, if possible.

Remember: if you have a health condition, good daily habits are just as important (if not more so) to promote staying healthy!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

How Psychic Are You?

Have you ever wondered ‘am I psychic?’ Complete this PsychicFuture.com quiz to find out how psychic you really are!

Are you psychic? Did you know that it is estimated that just over half of us (53%) actually are? I am of a spiritual nature and believe that human brains are capable of far more than they actually get used for in many cases; I have no doubt that there is alot of (often) untapped potential.

Third eye, minds eye

However, I am not at all surprised to read that 40% of psychic people felt afraid of this ability to begin with. People often fear what they don’t properly understand. Expert psychics at Psychic Future – which is the number one psychic reading service in the UK – therefore suggest that it is beneficial to seek support from a more experienced mentor. They also advise budding psychics to follow their instincts and embrace these skills.

If you have ever wondered whether you might be psychic, why not take this quiz by PsychicFuture.com to find out…

A detailed infographic about psychic abilities

If you would like to, do feel free to tell me in comments what you scored! And remember to share this post with your friends to see how they get on too!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

18 Goals for 2018 – Why This Post Never Happened

Back at the start of January this year, I was tagged in a lovely motivational post by Mandi over at Big Family, Organised Chaos about setting 18 goals for 2018. I loved this idea and was keen to take part; after all, setting goals helps us to achieve what we want and setting them down on the blog would help me to remember them, and hold myself accountable… except it didn’t happen!

Because even the best laid plans... white text blue background

See, the thing is, sometimes things don’t go to plan. I had ideas, I had my goals in mind, the post was forming in my head… but it stopped there. Because actual real life got in the way. Big time. And sometimes even the best laid plans have to get pushed aside. Even the most inspiring, most important actions still have to get dropped. Because sometimes life throws the unexpected at you. Things that you didn’t – that you couldn’t – predict. And that ‘stuff’ cannot wait. So priorities shift. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, ride the wave.

It is a good reminder that we can set goals and it is great to be focused on achieving them, but we also need to be flexible and adapt. And to be able to rethink our priorities when it is required. Sometimes we therefore have to let some things go. And that’s ok. Life is one big juggling act, after all!

Did you set goals for 2018? How are you getting on with them?

Self- Employment: Self-Assessment Tax Returns

I am so proud of myself right now; I have just been super organised and filed my 2017/18 tax returns online already! The deadline isn’t until the end of the year, but I couldn’t blog anyway because my site was being transferred to a new host, so I figured I might as well use that time effectively and submit mega early to get it out of the way! Especially after having a massive last second faff last year and finding myself needing to send a paper version in the end, only for Royal Mail to return it to me a week later as the envelope got damaged in transit! So I was then panicking about deadlines and potential late fees; it is a massive relief to know there will be none of that stress this time!

Are you self-employed? If so, you will need to keep records and fill out a tax return form each year too. In many cases that is obvious; people are generally aware that if you run a business and get a regular income from it, you must be self- employed and need to declare your income. However, some people don’t realise that even if you just earn a small irregular income, for example if you mainly blog as a hobby but occasionally get paid work, or if you sell things from home, or receive any other ad hoc income, that you still need to register as self- employed and complete an annual tax return. If that is the case, here’s what you need to do…

Self- Employment: Self-Assessment Tax Returns

Register as Self- Employed

Firstly, you need to register as self- employed. The easiest way to do this is by completing the form online. You must register by 5 October in your business’s second tax year at the latest, although personally I would recommend doing it asap.You will then be sent your Unique Taxpayers Code.

Register for Online Self- Assessment

Assuming you intend to file your tax returns online, you then need to register for this service on the government website. Technically you can use either the government gateway system or Gov.UK Verify to register and submit your returns, but this is the part where it got complicated for me the first time around.

Government Gateway

I tried to use the gateway system, whereby you complete a form online then they send you an activation code in the post. However, this did not work for me and I was told to use Verify to confirm my ID instead. The gateway system is gradually being phased out and will be replaced completely by March 2019, but I am not sure whether this issue had anything to do with it or not.

Verify Gov.UK

So I tried to use the Verify system. And this is where it got really frustrating! For the vast majority of people this would probably be a really quick and easy task. For me, however, not so straightforward; quite the opposite infact!

You see, my passport – which was in my maiden name anyway – had just expired and I don’t have a valid UK driving license either. On top of that my back account is with Nationwide. This combination apparently means you can not possibly verify your identity online with any of the seven different approved companies who offer this service on behalf of the government. Hmm. I wasted so many hours trying to sort it out, it was absolutely ridiculous.

Long story short: eventually I had to renew my passport and open a new bank account with a different bank – just so I could use the government’s online services! Needless to say I was less than impressed.

Tax written on a notebook. Hand holding pencil.

Submitting Your Tax Returns

That said, once you are verified online, it is really easy to submit your tax returns online. If you have all the information you need in front of you, it isn’t too much of an onerous task; actually, it didn’t take me very long whatsoever. If you are submitting online, the deadline is 31st January. For paper versions, it is 31st October.

Record Keeping

Obviously make sure your books are accurate and kept up-to-date, so you have the correct figures to submit. Also keep evidence; receipts, invoices, account records etc… incase you should ever need them. I use a simple Excel spreadsheet to record my monthly income and expenses. I operate on a cash-in, cash-out system, as I find that easiest personally. You will need to check if your situation allows this.

Remember to include all your allowable expenses. For example, if you work from home you can include a percentage of your utility bills. To make this easier, you can use simplified expenses. This is a flat rate, depending on how many hours you work from home per month. Note this does not include phone and internet so they can be listed separately. Once you have got to grips with your record keeping you shouldn’t find it too difficult, especially if you have a straightforward business. However, some people do like to hire a book-keeper to be sure it is all correct.

Calculator, pen, graphs, paperclip

It can be daunting having to complete your tax returns for the first time, but try not to worry! I hope this information is helpful. Let me know in comments if you found it useful!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

How To Grow Your Hair

Many mums find that they suffer from hair loss when they are pregnant, or shortly after giving birth, or sometimes both! It can be daunting finding clumps of hair in the shower after a hair wash, but rest assured it is normal. (Although if you are concerned, or are also experiencing other symptoms, do speak to a healthcare provider about it of course!)

I was lucky in that I didn’t actually have any noticeable hair loss during pregnancy or postpartum. However, I then randomly and unexpectedly began to notice quite significant amounts falling out last year. I am not really sure what caused it to be honest, and there weren’t any obvious patches at first. But after a few months, I did start to notice visible thinning in places.

Obviously this can be abit upsetting, although I tried not to worry about it too much personally. (Apart from anything else, I am sure stress wouldn’t help!) But it is comforting to know there are things that can be done to help. So here are some tips for encouraging hair growth…

How to grow your hair title with faded background image of a woman with long healthy hair

Don’t use too much heat and avoid too many styling products

Try to avoid using too much heat, or doing too much styling, because this dries out hair and damages it. Styling products often also contain chemicals that are harsh on your hair. You need to keep your hair healthy to allow it to grow, so go for the natural look as often as possible

A lady drying her hair

Healthy diet, healthy hair!

If you eat healthily, ensuring you get plenty of nutrition, this will also help your hair to grow. Take supplements if needed to give your body, and hair, that extra boost. This BBC article has some excellent suggestions on what to eat for healthy hair.

Condition your hair thoroughly

Remember to condition your hair everytime it gets wet and make sure you use plenty of conditioner. Natural oils, such as coconut oil, and other natural hair treatments, will help to replenish your hair and encourage growth.

Coconut oil in glass jar with wooden scoop

Choose the right brush

Help your hair to produce its own natural oils by brushing regularly. However, the wrong brush can damage hair, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve of course – so make sure you choose the right type of hair brush! Any knots should be teased out carefully, starting from the bottom, not get pulled out mercilessly by the brush.

Get regular trims

Regular trimming to avoid split ends helps to keep hair healthy. Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive to cut the hair that you are trying to grow, I promise you – it really isn’t!

Be patient!

It isn’t going to magically grow an inch overnight! You need to be realistic with your expectations. Keep trying the tips above and you will hopefully start to see results.

If all else fails…

Research hair transplant cost if the issue is severe and home methods have not helped, especially if it is having a major impact on your self- esteem and confidence. This may seem drastic but if nothing else has worked and it is affecting your overall wellbeing, it might be worth looking into. It is often helpful to consider all options; if nothing else, it can feel somewhat empowering to know that you do have choices, and that there are ways to regain some control over it, if need be.

What are your top tips for growing your hair? I would love to read them in comments!

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Harley Street Hair Clinic.

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers

Everyone says that they like music, but then there are people who LOVE music. For those people, music is life; their existence would be a little emptier without it. But music doesn’t just have to be something that you listen to and from work; you can make it part of your travels! From the history of music to today’s biggest players, there are destinations across the world that have music running through their veins. We take a look at some of these destinations below, which might just inspire your next trip…

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers title record image above

The Home of The Beatles

Where would music be with The Beatles? It’s not worth thinking about. The Fab Four from Liverpool changed the course of music forever. Listen to their records today, and you can still hear their influence in modern culture. To see where it all began, take a trip to Liverpool. There, you’ll be able to see the homes where they were raised, the areas that influenced some of their most popular tracks (specifically, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields), explore the Beatles Museum, and visit the famous Cavern Club, which is where they perfected their sound.

Modern Music Makers

People have the idea that music was better in the past, but is this true? It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Today, you can hear music from any and all backgrounds; music hasn’t gotten worse, there’s just more of it, and it’s more diverse. To hear the latest and best sounds, take a trip to the cities where all the best new music is developed. In places like London, New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin, you’ll be able to see the artists paving the future of music. And trust us, it sounds pretty good.

Through History

If you love music, then you’ll be aware of all the big movers and shakers throughout history. Virtually every big player has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and did you know that there’s a museum dedicated entirely to these musicians in Ohio? Book yourself into the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites Akron Stow, and pay a visit. There, you’ll find a grand museum divided into seven sections outlining various aspects of music, from one-hit wonders, songs that shaped rock and roll, and special exhibitions devoted to inductees, among others. For music lovers, this museum will function as something of a pilgrimage.

Other Languages

We tend to focus on music that’s in the English language, but if there’s one thing that music has taught us, it’s that music is global. For your next trip, why not think about visiting a place with a rich musical heritage, even if it’s in a different language? Cuba’s music scene is a knock-out, as is the Spanish cities where the Spanish guitar still reigns. Desert Sahara bands and artists, such as Tinariwen, have also been increasingly popular with western audiences in recent years, too. Travel the whole world, and dig deep to hear the sounds they’ve been creating – it’s sure to be good.

Do you have a favourite place to go for the musical connections? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.