Six Secrets to Healthy Hair

I think we can all be guilty of being a bit too over eager with the hair straighteners or hair dye. Even basic over-washing can strip away the natural shine and luster of your locks, leaving your hair dull and tired.

Here are six easy, budget-friendly ways to give your hair some extra oomph and

1. Protein & diet: Hair is made from a compressed form of protein called keratin, so it makes sense that the better you eat and the more protein you have in your diet, the healthier your hair will be and the more it will grow. While there’s much controversy over whether there’s any benefit to be had from supplements , a few tweaks to how you look after yourself inside can certainly reflect with your hair (and of course your skin and nails too).

2. Step away from the heat: Blow drying and heated styling tools (straighteners and tongs) are great time saving methods to achieve the looks your after but can ultimately damage your hair significantly if used too often and without the correct protective products. Hair breakages and split ends are common when using heat so try to limit your use of it to a few times a week at the max. Go for the natural waves look by letting your hair air-dry and if you have to use heat, use appropriate heat protection sprays.

3. Oils: I’m sure you’ve all heard about the seemingly magical and numerous benefits of coconut oil and indeed it can also be used on your hair as a mask and natural styling product. For more info on the benefits coconut oil can have on your hair and also your health check out nutritionsecrets.com for everything you need to know.

4. Washing: We live in an age of germaphobes and over-washers and while we relish in that squeaky clean feeling as we step out of the shower, we don’t realise we’re actually washing and stripping away the natural oils that keep our hair healthy. Now obviously I’m not saying stop showering, but limit the amount of times you shampoo your hair to every other day at least – shower caps exist for a reason!

5. No ‘poo: Possibly an extreme method but it’s recently growing in popularity – ditching the shampoo. Yeah, completely. Banishing the shampoo and all the chemicals packed inside and using natural, organic products such as apple cider vinegar, eggs and water to aid your hair’s self-cleaning oils to keep your hair clean and shiny.

6. Colourants: We all enjoy the added shine and swish a fresh dye job can give us, but at what cost? Bleaching and dying can severely damage your hair, stripping away all the healthy oils and damaging your hair’s growth and quality. Look into using henna instead to avoid those nasty chemicals.

So there you have it, cheap and easy tricks to keep your hair looking beautiful. What are your tips for healthy locks?

 

How to keep your family clean on a camping trip

Family camping trips can give you and your brood a chance to relax, unwind and explore the great outdoors, all at a fraction of the cost of a hotel stay. However, if you want these trips to be a success, you’ll need to do plenty of planning and one of the issues you should focus on is hygiene. Keeping your kids clean on these adventures can be a challenge. To help you along the way, here are some simple but effective camping hygiene tips.

Take hand wipes, and lots of them!

Much loved by mums around the world, hand wipes are must-haves in a whole range of situations, and camping is no exception. A simple wash with these wipes can help to kill germs and keep you and your children safe. According to hygiene supply specialist Clinell Direct, for the best results you should rub all areas of your hands thoroughly with the wipes, discard them and then keep rubbing your hands until they are dry.

As well as using these wipes around the campsite, you can slip them into your handbag or rucksack and take them with you on day trips. They’re especially useful before and after meals.

Choose your campsite carefully  

It’s also important to choose your campsite with care. Especially if you’re travelling with young kids or you’re a novice when it comes to the outdoor lifestyle, you may be best off opting for a well-equipped site with plenty of facilities. Having access to proper toilets and washrooms can make keeping your tots clean much easier than if you’re wild camping and roughing it.

Improvise if necessary

However, if you do select a campsite without these amenities, there are ways to improvise. For example, if you don’t have access to a washroom, simply mix some water and soap in a bowl and wash your kids’ faces, hands and feet before putting them into their pyjamas in the evening. If your kids are small enough and you have access to a suitably sized plastic tub, you could even give them a basic bath using water you’ve warmed on your camp stove.

Keep your tent clean

Keeping your tent spic and span can be a challenge, but there are ways to reduce the build-up of dirt and rubbish. For example, consider putting a mat in front of the entrance, and insist that people wipe their feet or take their shoes off before they enter the tent. It’s also a good idea to set up a rubbish bin outside. Ideally, this should have a sealable lid to help keep any animals out.

By following simple tips like these, you stand a better chance of keeping your family clean on your next camping adventure.

 

Dream Spaces

I remember a time when I took so much pride in my home, in all the tiny details, how everything had to match and coordinate. When I left home and had my very own tiny but perfectly formed flat, it felt like an extension of myself and I’d look after it and polish all the shiny bits and arrange and rearrange the trinkets on my coffee table relentlessly.

Of course there was a rather long interim when we had Noah and my main priority was just trying to keep on top of laundry and forever picking up chunky plastic baby toys from the floor to avoid serious physical harm. And removing the stubborn film of milk / baby food /  crumbs / snot (and worse) from every possible surface in our home.

2

Now he’s been at school for 2 years, it sort of feels like we’ve got our home back a little and we’re not just simply existing in Noah’s House. Sorry son. The toy baskets that seemed to multiply and spill over the floor again and again and again and ag- are now scurried away in his room. I can now have things out on display again, a novelty after being forced to hide away EVERYTHING that wasn’t screwed down for so long in the fear he’d break it / maim himself / try to eat it. And the film of child filth – now chocolatey hand-prints, crumbs, bogies, peanut butter smears, glue, paint and OMG THE GLITTER – is kind of under control.

We even managed to completely redecorate six months ago and it still looks fresh (ish) and I don’t regret my back-breaking efforts which would be unthinkable a few years ago.

Of course there’s always something that could be improved on – and other than dreaming of limitless storage – my next thing to update is our sofa. The poor, faithful brute. He’s been through a lot.

sofa

After years of being used as indoor trampoline (the child, not me) and a cat scratching post plus a rather large tear in the leather on one of the seats… He’s tired. Knackered even. My dream sofa would still be leather, the thought of looking after fabric with a kid, 2 cats and a very accident prone boyfriend sets my teeth on edge. I’d opt for a more timeless style and shape however, think of those massive coffee shop-style buttery soft leather sofas that you can just happily sink into for hours with a book. Somewhere we can spend time together comfortably as a family, without fighting over who has to sit on the dodgy bit.

How has your home changed since having kids? What would be your dream sofa? I’d be really interested to know!

A Family Meal at Harvester – A Review

I was recently asked if I’d fancy a family meal at my local Harvester (Rayleigh Weir) as part of their new initiative to get families around the table at meal times and spend more time together.

So in the spirit of things, Noah and I rounded up my brother, sister-in-law and little nephew along for some grub and family time (and unlimited visits to the salad bar, obvs).

We arrived around 12.30pm on a Thursday afternoon to find plenty of parking spaces and a very clean and welcoming outside seating area. Once inside, the very helpful staff had us seated quickly and immediately provided a highchair for my nephew and menus for us to peruse.

welcome

The restaurant had a really lovely atmosphere inside, with low lighting and spacious seating areas and even though there was a rather busy lunchtime rush, it didn’t feel loud or crowded. Our waitress gave us plenty of time to make our food and drink choices – or rather wait for Noah to change his mind 3 times (“OOOH SAUSAGES! I want a burger. No. PASTA! YES PASTA!”)

Once we’d made our orders, we had time to visit the salad bar which again was quiet, well-stocked and had plenty to offer even the children, however some of the salad items looked like it’d been out possibly past its best.

Our main meals appeared just as we were finishing our salads which was a great plus as it didn’t feel like we’d been waiting at all and the kids were kept happy munching warm bread rolls, cucumber slices and beetroot chunks and colouring in with the crayons and sheets provided.

kiddos

I ordered the Harvester Beef Fully Loaded Burger – a beef patty topped with slow cooked BBQ pulled pork, bacon, Monterey Jack cheese & onion rings served with chips – sorry, not sorry diet. My brother went with the I Want it All Platter for one – Rotisserie chicken, chargrilled chicken thighs, gammon steak, chorizo & half rack of baby back ribs topped with fresh grilled pineapple and a Kapia pepper, served with chunky tomato salsa. My sister in law had the Full Rack of Smoked Ribs – Pork ribs, kiln-smoked in Cornwall over beech woodchips and finished on the chargrill. Glazed in a classic BBQ sauce. And Noah – finally – opted for the Simply Pasta – Cellentani pasta served with a yummy tomato sauce and grated cheese – with a side of chips, because why not? And as my nephew is going through the fussy eating toddler stage, he contented himself with food from the salad bar and pinching everyone’s chips!

food

We were all really happy with our food, it was well-presented and delicious, there were several minutes of complete silence while we happily stuffed our faces. The only minor point was that my brother’s gammon was really dry but he didn’t mind. Noah didn’t eat his pasta – I flipping knew he wouldn’t – nothing wrong with it at all, just the child’s aversion of the presence of sauce touching pasta.

Once we were completely full, the kid’s eyes began to glitter at the mention of ICE CREAM OMG ICE CREAM.  They had a Make Your Own Sundae each with a tiny bit of help from the adults- (Add your own wafer, fudge pieces, chocolate sauce, honeycomb sprinkles and Mini Smarties® btw).

icecream

We left with full bellies, somewhat sleepy from the carb overload and happy from a pleasent afternoon spent together – oh and balloons for the kids! We really enjoyed our meals and will definitely return.

Have you been to Harvester recently? What’s your favourite food to order from there?

Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary meals and drinks for the purpose of this review – however all opinion is completely honest and my own.

Some Great Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe and Healthy in The Sun

As parents, we love the summer months, and the freedom it gives our kids to play outside. No matter how much fun your kids will have in your home, there is something special about playing outdoors. There is obviously a problem with playing outside, and that is the danger from the sun’s rays. So, even though I want my kids to be playing in the sunshine, I also need to protect them from harm. Here are a few ways that I balance the fun outside and the safety I require for my kids.

Sunscreen

This is always the starting point. As more information on the harmful effects of the sun’s rays becomes available, protection from them becomes increasingly important. Brush up on the terminology on the sun screen bottles, always buy sunscreen specifically for children, and make sure it is waterproof if they are going anywhere near water. Another thing to remember is that applying sunscreen once a day is useless for kids who are likely to be outside for hours, probably sweating the screen off every hour or two; so I keep topping up the sunscreen they have on throughout the day.

Water

If I set up a paddling pool in my garden for the kids to splash around in, I am always aware of where the sun is, and set up a large parasol to keep my kids in the shade. Never forget that water will intensify the effect of the sun’s rays and will reflect it back onto your children too. I use the parasol as I can move it around the paddling pool as the sun moves, but can remove it when it is not in use. If you have a permanent pool, it is worth considering a retractable cover; or a simple cover you can pull overhead; after all, you may want to swim in the rain too.

Permanent Shade

Make sure that you have an area where the kids can settle and play that is not in direct sunlight. If they are having an outside picnic, or playing with a sand table, this is best done in a shady area. It is easy enough to build an area of prefabricated steel and cover it with tinted Perspex or plastic sheeting, the steel can be made to measure at Cannonsteelsltd.co.uk, and the sheeting can be bought at any builder’s yard. The cost is small, and the structure will stop direct light, but allow the illusion of being in the sunshine. Other alternatives such as an arbour or gazebo are possible, but I like my kids to sit in the shade, not shadow.

Water (again)

This is the drinking kind, not the swimming kind. Kids will dehydrate in the sun, even if they are sitting down to read a book; so I make sure you know the signs to look for, and that there is always water available. They can have access to other drinks too, but there is always water. I find that the kids will drink much more water if it is cold, so I set up an urn full of iced water that is always on tap. I will also make sure that I make them have a water break every 30 minutes max, and reduce that if they are running around.

Playing in the sun is a healthy thing as long as you pay attention to the dangers that can accompany it. Protect your child from the harmful rays of the sun and sunburn, make sure they are drinking enough water, and that they take breaks from direct sunlight every so often. They can then enjoy a fun-filled day playing outdoors with their mates or you. Don’t forget, you are allowed to enjoy the sunshine too.

 

Encouraging Your Children to Become Entrepreneurs

It is natural for a child to start asking questions about their parents’ work and what it entails. This is a great opportunity for a parent to not only bond with their child but also start teaching them about how the business world works and how wonderful it can be to take charge of their own career.

It can seem premature to talk about encouraging children to become entrepreneurs, but the creativity, ambition, and innovation needed to carve out a successful corporate niche are all instilled during these formative years. Whilst it is never a good idea to push a child too hard too early, championing the desire to achieve is a great way to raise intelligent and forward-thinking children.

These tips and tricks will teach parents how to encourage their children to become entrepreneurs in a way that is nurturing, caring and ultimately successful.

Use the word “no” sparingly

This can be a difficult step to take with children, particularly if they are headstrong and curious, but if a child wants to have a go at something new and the parent knows that there will be no serious consequences if they fail, the parent should let them take the risk. As all good entrepreneurs know, risk is an essential part of success, and learning when to take chances and how to deal with failure is much easier when one is young and has a robust support network to fall back on.

Never treat girls differently

The world can be a very tough place out there for a woman, but the most successful ladies on the planet did not get to where they are now by letting people tell them what they can and cannot do. The best possible thing that a parent can do for a daughter these days is to teach her that she can achieve anything and everything that her brothers, father, uncles, and friends can. It is a good idea to use successful female entrepreneurs as inspiring examples, to show what is possible. One such example is Jennifer Douglas Abubakar. Jennifer is a lawyer and the founder of the Gede Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping those afflicted with HIV and AIDS in Africa.

Start financial learning early

As soon as children are old enough to start learning about the fundamentals of how money works, parents should supplement the learning that they will be naturally gathering as a result of contact with peers and teachers with their own basic education. For example, a parent could explain to them what a salary is, who receives one, and why this happens – the role of the individual in this process should be made particularly clear because it is important for them to understand that they are in control of their future.

For kids to grow up with a real sense of wonder at everything that they could potentially achieve, parents need to first let them know that success requires hard work, drive and determination.

 

How Room Designs Affect Your Mood

If you have ever been troubled by insomnia, you might have read that experts often advise you to mentally revisit and remember a place where you were happy as a child. Perhaps you were on holiday, or maybe there was just something magical in the air that made you feel good? In all likelihood, it seems, the colours that surrounded you might have made a significant difference to how you were feeling at the time, as colours are known to have a marked effect on your state of mind. Here is a quick guide to how to enhance your mood using some clever colour tricks:

Monochrome manoeuvres

Black is popular in fashion because it’s slimming and stylish, and there is definitely a timeless quality about it. In your home it is really only useful for statement pieces that you want to appear dominant – maybe picture frames if you have items that you want your visitors to notice.

White is usually centred on purity and cleanliness, however too much can create an atmosphere that is cold and even sterile in a room. For this reason, always use white with other colours to create the warming or cooling effect you want.

Intensify your emotions

It seems that red is the most intense colour when it comes to our emotional reactions. Apparently, it suggests energy and it is said that your heartbeat and breathing may quicken when confronted by red. The colour is used as an accent in interior design such as for a specific piece of furniture, while curiously, bright pink is generally avoided as it is thought to result in a loss of energy.

Calming interiors

If you want to feel comfortable at home – and who doesn’t ? – think about how you decorate your main living space and which colours you choose. For example, if your room has little natural light you may prefer to use smell to enhance the atmosphere – candles, oil and incense will all help, as will stylish scented flowers in elegant vases. Choose gardenia, jasmine and violet for the best effect.

Orange to innovate

Maybe orange does transmit energy to the brain, as is often claimed, but it’s difficult to know for sure. Certainly, it’s a warm colour and may indeed stimulate the little grey cells. Feng Shui enthusiasts connect orange with creativity, enthusiasm, good communications and happiness, while yellow gets the vote for mental stimulation, cheerfulness and light-heartedness.

Cool down

Moving to the cool spectrum, we have to look at blue and green. For the former, calm and freshness spring to mind, while green can definitely be described as soothing. Blue is often used in bedrooms and bathrooms, perhaps because it reminds us of the colour of the sea and the sky. Green is closely aligned with nature and for Feng Shui enthusiasts can also indicate safety, peace, healing and growth.

Finally, make sure you declutter your home thoroughly so that you achieve the best possible layout and colour scheme. Aim to use neutral colours to good advantage and strong ones only when you need to make a statement.

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