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A complete guide to MOT's including a handy checklist

If you want to learn about MOT, give this post a read and get all the answers to your MOT related questions!

MOT- What is it & why is it important?

MOT is an annual test that is made mandatory by the UK govt. to be taken by all vehicles on road to ensure a vehicle’s safety and roadworthiness. This is the govt.’s way of ensuring safety for the drivers plus other passengers and to lessen accident chances. During the MOT Test, all the essential parts of a vehicle are thoroughly examined to ensure that they’re meeting all the required legal standards.

Can a car/vehicle be driven without an MOT test?

In simple words, the answer is NO! Making sure that your car is MOT tested is a legal requirement as mentioned earlier. The only time you can drive without an MOT test is when you’re driving to get it done!  Otherwise you can face heavy penalty for it.

How often do you need to get the MOT test done?

As per law, you need to get your first MOT test done 3 years after the date of your car’s registration given if it is a brand new car. Please note, for a car with an age of 3 years and above, the car needs to be retested every year on the anniversary of its last MOT.

How does one check when their car’s MOT test is due?

Your MOT date is mentioned on your MOT certificate, you can always check from there. Another easy way is to log on to the Govt.uk site to know about your MOT status. Even local garage websites offer this service. You just have to enter your car’s registration number along with your vehicle make on their website and they will show you when your MOT is due.

A lot of local garages offer MOT services. One such car garage is KAP. With KAP Motors Brighton, you can book MOT Online at a date and time of your convenience. You don’t even have to pay anything upfront.

How long is the MOT test?

The MOT test is not that long. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour at max. The test covers all the electrical equipment and basic car checks. If your vehicle clears the MOT test checklist, you will be issued an MOT certificate instantly.

Can the MOT test be performed at home?

A complete and thorough MOT cannot be performed at home. You need to visit an expert who is authorized to issue the MOT certificate. 

An interview with Surrey-based author Nikki Smith discussing her debut book 'All In Her Head'

All In The Head book cover and author photo

We caught up with debut author and Surrey parent, Nikki Smith, about her newly-published psychological thriller, 'All In Her Head'. Nikki has lived in Surrey for 13 years and wrote her debut novel from her house in Guildford, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, ages 14 and 12 and a cat who thinks she's a dog!

Here at Surrey Mummy we rocketed through our copies of 'All In Her Head' when we discovered it at the beginning of lockdown and felt it was very much in the same vein or 'Gone Girl' and 'Girl on a Train' as it twists and turns and leaves you guessing right until the end. This timely psychological thriller is about the darkest corners of a mother's mind.

Alison is more alone than she's ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work. She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. She just can't remember why. Then the mention of one name turns her life upside down. Alison feels like she's losing her mind...but it could just lead her to the truth.

1. Nikki, what inspired you to write a book on the topic of post-natal depression/post-partum psychosis that runs through ‘All In Her Head’? Was it difficult to write about such a tough subject-matter?

I had a very traumatic birth with my youngest child – I had undiagnosed placenta accreta; ended up haemorrhaging, lost three litres of blood and ended up in ICU. It made me realise how risky childbirth still is, even in the developed world. I started thinking about illnesses that aren’t visible after childbirth and are in some ways even harder to deal with, and this inspired me to write 'All In Her Head'. It was difficult to write about such a sensitive topic as I wanted to make sure I didn’t sensationalise it in any way so I did a lot of research before I started writing. Since the book was published, I’ve had several comments from readers who have suffered from similar issues who have said that they thought I dealt with the topic very realistically which means a great deal to me.

2. Did the main characters Alison and Jack evolve as you wrote the story or did you pre-plan all aspects before you started writing?

I had a strong idea of Alison before I started writing, and her character didn’t change significantly, but Jack developed more as I was writing the story and through the different drafts in the editing stages of the novel.

3. ‘All In Her Head’ was published at the very beginning of lockdown in the UK. How did you adapt the launch of your debut due to coronavirus and do you think it has affected promotion so far? 

Yes, it hasn’t been ideal timing!! My book launch and all physical events had to be cancelled which, as you can imagine after having spent years getting to the point of having a book published, was devastating. All the shops have been shut so I haven’t even seen my hardback in a bookstore yet! However, I’m fully aware there are people who have suffered far more than I have - I’m just grateful my family and friends are safe and well. As another author told me, ‘Books last forever.’ There have been positives to come out of the situation as well – the publishing industry has reacted quickly, moving many events online, so I had a virtual book launch on twitter and I’ve been involved in panel discussions with other authors like Sarah Vaughan that might never have happened otherwise. I’m also part of a debut group of authors on Facebook who all support each other, and other much more well-known authors like David Nicholls and Clare Mackintosh have been so generous with their support for debut writers. People are also reading more eBooks as a result of lockdown which has helped 'All In Her Head' to become a bestseller on Amazon, and it’s had some great reviews in the Press.

4. How did you begin your journey to become a published author?

I always wanted to be an author – I did an English degree & wrote a novel after leaving University, but it wasn’t very good & unsurprisingly wasn’t picked up by an agent. So, I gave up and went on to have a career in finance. Then a few years ago, someone I was at school with contacted me on Facebook to ask if I’d ever done anything with my writing as she still remembered the stories I used to read out in class. It was a now or never moment, and I signed up for a Curtis Brown creative writing course, which I absolutely loved, and started writing All In Her Head. I subsequently won a competition that another author, Amanda Reynolds, was running and she became my mentor. After I’d worked on the first few chapters of my novel with her for a while, I sent it off to the literary agent Sophie Lambert who had read my cover letter on the Curtis Brown course, and who I really, really hoped would like it. She agreed to represent me, and a few months later we submitted the manuscript to publishers where Orion offered me a two-book deal.

5. Can you tell us about your writing set-up and routine?

Before lockdown, I used to drop my children at school and then come home and write until they needed picking up, and I’d also write in the evenings and weekends if I was on a deadline. In lockdown, routines have become much more difficult to maintain as we have everyone at home, so I squeeze writing in as and when I can – I find getting up very early to write helps as when the house is quiet, I have much needed head space!

6. What gave you the drive to actually finish writing the book and get it published?

I think many authors would tell you that finishing the book isn’t the biggest issue – it’s the re-writing and editing it to make it the best that it can be that causes most problems! I can finish a first draft of a book in about three months if I write a thousand words a day, every day. But that’s just the start of the process – in subsequent drafts and editing many of those words I’ve written will change. For me, when I got my mentor, I felt that it was independent feedback that someone else whose work I valued liked the story I wanted to tell and this gave me the encouragement to keep going through several rewrites to get the book to a point where I could submit it to agents.

7. Are you working on any other books? Can we expect a sequel to ‘All In Her Head’ or a change of direction next?

I have a two-book deal with Orion, so my next one will be published in 2021. It’s not a sequel to 'All In Her Head', but is the same psychological suspense genre – I can’t give too much away at the moment but it’s about a family with dark secrets.

8. What is your favourite place to visit as a family in Surrey? Or activity you like to do as a family?

We love to visit Polesden Lacey and Wisley, but living in Surrey we’re lucky enough to have open countryside close by which we can walk in and have been so grateful for during lockdown. 

9. What advice would you give to aspiring authors, especially those trying to write whilst bringing up young children?

I would say set yourself a wordcount every day and try to stick with it. I was working full time when I started writing 'All In Her Head', so I know how difficult this can be, especially with children, but if it means getting up an hour earlier, or going to bed an hour later to get 500 words down, it is possible.

10. What book are you currently reading? Can you recommend any books that have inspired you during lockdown?

I am currently reading 'The Other People' by CJ Tudor and loving it. Other books I've recently read during lockdown and have really enjoyed have included 'The Man on The Street' by Trevor Wood, 'I am Dust' by Louise Beech and 'Our Dark Secret' by Jenny Quintana.

We are very grateful to Nikki for giving us her time and urge our readers to pick up a copy of 'All In Her Head' this summer. Follow Nikki on twitter @mrssmithmunday or visit her website https://nikkismithauthor.com/ to find out more. Buy a copy of All In Her Head' here.

 

Six big considerations when bringing home a new puppy

Any new addition to the family brings plenty of concerns and changes. While mums may worry about how to handle the arrival of a new baby, similar concerns should be evaluated whenever a new pet is brought into the home. Most notably, the addition of a new puppy can present unique challenges that mums, dads, and kids alike aren’t prepared for necessarily.

A new puppy should be a time for celebration amongst all in the home – and it is – but it’s important to consider how this may change your day-to-day routines and behaviours. To help those who are integrating a new dog into home life, we’ll be looking at six big considerations that have to be made in order to ensure both family and puppy alike are healthy, thriving, and safe.

Dietary concerns

It’s vital to consider proper dietary conditions for any new canine addition to your home. In many respects, the quality of the food you provide a dog determines his or her lifespan, energy levels, and overall health. Most adoption centres don’t provide you with a comprehensive puppy feeding guide, so you have to learn how best to nourish your pet elsewhere.

To properly feed your puppy, it’s important to consider both the natural dietary needs of a pet and any additional requirements based on breed and health. Bella and Duke provide high-quality raw pet food that nourishes your puppy and promotes healthier outcomes for dogs of all ages. For those interested in learning more about raw food diets and the benefits they can provide, read this useful guide on raw feeding and how it can benefit your new four-legged friend. 

Vaccinations

Once you’ve learned how to nourish your new canine friend through a puppy feeding guide, the next consideration is vaccinations. 

Depending on how and from where your new puppy originated, their vaccines may already be up-to-date. If this isn’t the case, then most veterinarians will recommend a series of immunisations. These include Leptospirosis, as well as distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis. 

These safeguards taken before or immediately after bringing your new canine pal home will protect the puppy.

Safe spaces

Young puppies are naturally energetic, but seek out places in which to sleep, be calm and relax. New home environments – especially those with young children – can be naturally energetic and distracting settings. This is why it is important to have dedicated “safe spaces” for your puppy where he or she can relax, sleep, and otherwise be tranquil.

Pet owners should absolutely commit to showing new puppies a place where they can sleep, eat, and feel safe. Whether through the use of bedding or crating, establishing a space in the home for dogs to call their own can minimise stress, anxiety, and even bad behaviours.

Restricted areas to protect children and puppies

Just as your new puppy needs a safe space, homes with younger children need to be cognisant of the impact that free-range puppies and kids can have on one another. From toddlers mistreating puppies to those same puppies being playfully-aggressive with toddlers, keeping the two separate from one another during certain times is beneficial for both.

Walling off areas in the home exclusively for puppies and children makes good sense. Whether you need to step out of the room for a few minutes or simply want to minimise the likelihood of potentially harmful interactions, the use of indoor fencing and play areas can successfully quarantine both puppies and children from one another when necessary.

Toys and tools

Puppies naturally want to play: if they lack proper toys and experiences, they will make use of whatever is around them. Parents and homeowners who don’t want misbehaving dogs and ruined furniture should consider investing in a variety of dog toys and tools that are necessary for dog ownership.

Chew toys, treats, and bedding are absolute requirements. Additionally, other tools such as collars and leads, exercise pens, grooming tools, and crates may also prove valuable in select situations. Puppies are no different from people: they crave attention, distractions, and care, so make sure to give them what they need to thrive!

Health arrangements

Last but not least, any new canine addition to the home comes with long-term considerations. The biggest, arguably, is healthcare. When adopting a new pet, it’s critical that you find local vet services that can adequately look after your dog when he or she needs medical attention. 

Finding a veterinarian you trust who is accessible and local should be a top priority. In many cases, this vet will care for your puppy throughout its entire life; it’s important to not only find a local solution but to pick a vet that is right for your puppy’s specific needs.

Once you’ve mastered the puppy feeding guide, in-home protections between children and puppy, healthcare concerns, and your puppy’s day-to-day needs, your family will enjoy many years of happiness and loving interaction with your new addition. These six concerns should always be considered in advance of bringing a new canine addition into the home, as they will ensure everybody is prepared for what any new puppy may bring. 

Your new routine: how to stay sane during lockdown

In these strange times, when everything has changed so much, most of us are feeling like we've had the rug pulled from under our feet. I've been reading many articles over the past week or so about how to cope with lockdown and those discussing mental health suggest that setting new routines can help with retaining structure, especially when families are cooped up together for hours on end.

It's been amazing to watch the swell of communication emerging to help us all through these unusual days, particularly via social media. A number of celebrities have turned their hand to giving FREE sessions online and we thought it would be useful to compile them into a handy timetable to help you structure your day. 

Each session lasts for a maximum of 30 minutes giving you lots of wriggle room and time to deal with the unexpected whilst keeping vaguely to the timetable. You can fit your trip out of the house for daily exercise around the timings or plan this for the beginning or the end of the day, depending on how early your children wake up.

Let us know how you get on and share your own ideas on our facebook page.

 

9.00am PE with Joe Wicks Joe broadcasts daily workouts on YouTube. The fun PE lessons last about 30 minutes and you don't need any equipment. They are aimed at kids of any age (although they seem to be popular with mums as well for some reason!)     
10.00am Maths with Carol Vorderman Aimed at 4-12 year olds and matched to the national curriculum. Access to over 1,000 maths sessions, including fun games. Virtual rewards can be printed at home to aid motiviation.
11.00am English with David Walliams Relax with a cuppa and a biscuit as you enjoy elevenses with David Walliams. Each day he is reading an audio story from his best-selling kids' books and he'll be doing all the voices! Stories last for about 15-20 minutes.
12.00pm Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver) Jamie has a vast repetoire of meals that are made for and by kids and has plenty of hands on experience as a Dad of five. Have a look at his website for lunch ideas to get the children cooking. And tune into Channel 4 at 5.30pm for his 'Keep Cooking and Carry On' show with plenty of ideas of how to cook during lockdown.
1.00pm Music with Myleene Klass Curiculum-based music classes from Mylene, broadcast on YouTube and aided by her daughters. There is no need for instruments or any prior musical knowledge. Any age or ability welcome.
1.30pm Dance with Darcey Bussell Daily shake-ups via a fun dance programme run by DDMIX for Schools and live on facebook just after lunchtime (let your food settle first!)
2.00pm History with Horrible Histories Catch up with episodes on YouTube including themed compilations and best bits.
4.00pm  Home Economics with Theo Michaels 'Kids Cook with Theo' on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A live cooking class using simple ingredients and aimed at children.

 

Appearing throughout the week at various times:

For your older kids, here are 50 free revision resources for 11+, GCSEs and A-Levels.

Most celebrities are not broadcasting at weekends, so we suggest you have a look at this list of 29 kids' activities so you can stay sane during lockdown. with ideas for different age groups.

And finally if all else fails do not feel guilty if your children end up watching more TV. Amazon Prime Video have made Peppa Pig free to stream during the coronavirus pandemic for a very good reason!

Easy ways to plan playdates

Having small children gives you the chance to plan many playdates with children their age. You get to spend some time interacting with other parents while your children get to develop some key social skills from an early age. Here are some of the best ways to plan playdates with other children.

Watch who they are friendly with

If you have friends with children a similar age to your own, you will no doubt start playdates by having them get together. However, you should also keep your eyes open for friends they are making at any classes or playgroups that you might attend together. This is great as it gives you an indication early on about how they get on with strangers and what types of friends they are likely to make. 

Have you noticed that your child is very close to another at your playgroup? Why not pull that child’s parent aside and ask to arrange a playdate? It could be that simple! By encouraging playdates with as many children as possible, you will get to expose your child to many different lives from a young age.

Keep early playdates simple

Every playdate does not need to be an epic extravaganza. A simple first playdate could just be a run around in the local park. Your children get to play together and have fun no matter what they play on while you and the other parent can watch from afar and get to know each other a little too.

If there is nice weather, why not take advantage of it for a spontaneous playdate? Ask around after a class and have some people over for ice cream and playing in the paddling pool. It can be a few hours of fun for everyone!

Plan more complicated playdates in advance

If your child has one friend that they see often for playdates, you can begin to plan things that are a little more complicated with their friend’s parents. For example, one lovely thing to do might be to head away on an overnight trip. You could all go to an event or somewhere nice like the beach. This easy mini holiday might be something that your children treasure forever. 

However, you need to consider some logistics for this. If both parents can drive, it might not be fair for one to do all the driving and taking two cars might be a little too much. Why not consolidate policies by finding quotes for car insurance that will cover both of you? With the right car insurance quote, one driver can be the main driver on the policy while the other can be a named driver, which means they can share the driving duties. 

Playdates are an important part of your child’s development. Keep an eye out to see who they are making friends with. Before you know it, you could have a full schedule of playdates and your child could be well on their way to becoming a social butterfly. Reach out and find your first playdate now!

Surrey is closed

All venues in Surrey listed on our website have closed temporarily due to the coronavirus pandemic. After government advice all places except parks have closed with immediate effect and have either cancelled or postponed their shows, activities, events, clubs and classes for the forseeable future. All eating venues are now closed 

Inevitably this lockdown is giving a very different shape to life for all of us.

We wish all the staff at the various venues well and thank them for making our Surrey venues such fantastic places to visit. We will be back visiting and enjoying them as soon as we can. In the meantime, please keep safe, respect others, work as a community and stay positive. 

Your guide to switching energy suppliers in 2020

Whether you’ve been with your energy supplier for three years or ten years, you are probably overpaying for their services. After a few years most energy suppliers up the bill without even telling you. You are likely paying a lot more than your original rate without even knowing it. People are starting to realize this and moving from one supplier to another to get the better deal. It is also due to the large number of new energy companies popping up and offering better alternatives to the traditional Big Six energy companies who have historically dominated the market. Customers are realizing there is no need for this. You don’t have to pay more than you should. Some people are afraid to navigate the market and find the cheaper deal, but this is getting easier all the time. 

Where to Begin

If you are even considering switching energy suppliers, you should start by calling your company and asking for a breakdown of the bill. You can also do this by analyzing your bill and seeing how much you pay for each thing. Most households are paying too much for the energy use. You may even be paying for energy you don’t use. Considering that people around the UK are paying too much for electricity, it is no surprise that almost six and a half million customers switched their energy supplier in 2019, breaking a record that was just set in 2018. 

Finding a New Provider

When you have decided you are going to switch, the next step is finding who you are going to switch to. Nowadays there are many options in the UK’s market. You should start by calling around. Don’t be afraid to ask about any promotional deals they have going on. According to the website MoneyPug a platform used to switch energy supplier, some electricity suppliers will even offer you a deal for switching over from your current provider. This can make switching very enticing, but don’t forget to do your homework. Finding the best possible rate will save you in the long run. Typically customers are switching from a large company to a medium or small energy provider. 

The Stats of People Switching

A nine percent increase in households switching suppliers last year. Small and medium companies are benefiting from this, they have gained many customers despite the growth slowing. The collapse of several small suppliers may have contributed to this. People switching has doubled since 2014, the year that over 3 million customers switched. The number has gradually increased over the past five years with April 2019 alone seeing 660,000 customers finding new providers, the highest month on record. More than a half a million customers switch every month on average. 

Small suppliers have gained 1.5 more customers than they lost to larger companies. Only seven percent of people switching electricity were from small or medium suppliers to large ones. However, this increased in the last year of 2019, when it was at 18 percent. According to Ofgem, 53 percent of domestic customers were on expensive default tariffs. 

What You Need to Know about the Process

After taking a look at your bills, finding your average, and calling as many companies as you can to find a better deal, you should look into the cost of customer service. It may reveal which companies have a bad reputation. Then, once you have found the right company, you will simply give them your information and they will set you up. You will probably need to tell them the current meter reading and other information. Be honest to avoid disputes and you will find the right deal for you and your home. Typically it can take about 17 days to switch your supplier, but it could take up to three weeks. You will also have on average two weeks to decide you want to change your mind. 

However you look at it, if you’ve been with an energy supplier for a few years you are likely paying too much. Doing your homework will help you see what you could be paying and how much you could save. There is no reason to keep on paying too much. You may not want to make the calls but it will save you a lot of money if you do. 

​​​​​​​Can pregnancy lead to hair loss?

For many mothers, it isn’t so. There’s ample research available on hair loss that can occur after childbirth. But female hair loss is as much a reality during pregnancy. You might’ve heard of all those women who had thick, shiny, and luscious hair while they were pregnant. They are also quite vulnerable to experiencing hair loss once the pregnancy is over. But in order to understand how this works, you need to know the stages of the life cycle of your hair.

Stages of Hair Growth Cycle

Each hair follicle goes through three stages in their lifetime: anagen phase, catagen phase, and telogen phase. The first phase is associated with active hair growth and lasts for around 2-6 years. Following closely, catagen phase halts the activities of the first one. The hair follicle stops getting blood supply and soon converts to a club hair. This phase is marked by cellular death, also known as apoptosis. It doesn’t last longer than 2-3 weeks. The telogen phase is that of rest. And if you’re experiencing excessive hair loss, it means that most of your hair is in this phase. In periods of stress, our hair deems it right to enter this stage. It can last for around 3 months.

Normally, at a time, only 10% of your hair is in the telogen phase. Once it is over, your hair will shed, and new ones will begin to develop in their place.

What Happens During Pregnancy? 

During pregnancy, hormones, progesterone and estrogen, are certainly not at the normal levels. The latter plays an important role in helping the hair to not fall. The hair stays in the anagen phase of the life cycle. But it comes to end within a few months after the delivery as hair enters the telogen phase. It is here that many women begin to experience hair loss in relation to their pregnancy. However, there is no need to be alarmed as it is a temporary phase. Your hair will grow back so, you don’t need to be anxious. It can most definitely be very stressful, but things will get better with time.

How Can Women Lose Hair During Pregnancy? 

The experience certainly isn’t the same for every woman. Many end up losing hair than gaining any. As mentioned above, most of our hair can enter the telogen phase during periods of stress. Pregnancy is one such stress. Our body is preparing in multiple ways to sustain the growth of a baby. Thus, this can be one reason why women may experience hair loss during pregnancy. Hormonal changes can be cited as its reason.

Another reason could be thyroid disorders. Hyper or hypothyroidism can cause over or under-production of thyroid hormone. Either case can lead to a cluster of symptoms, one of which is hair loss. So, it is better to get these checked while you’re pregnant.

Mineral deficiency is another reason why people experience hair loss. It could be of vitamins or iron. Pregnant women, though, are at greater risks of suffering from iron deficiencies. Some situations can further aggravate the condition such as closely-spaced pregnancies.

Alopecia areata or traction alopecia can also be the cause of this so you shouldn’t completely rule them out. Androgenetic alopecia, which is pattern baldness, affects both men and women. It is hereditary and has no permanent solution other than hair transplant surgery.

In conclusion

Hair fall has many reasons. In any case, you should first consult your doctor about it. Once the right cause is determined, you can choose the most appropriate treatment for it.

Becoming a blended family: Practical tips to make life less stressful

Blended families, or homes that contain members of various different families, are one of the fastest growing types of households in 2019 according to the Office Of National Statistics.

These growing numbers of untraditional families mean that parents need to learn how to give their children the stable upbringing that they deserve. 

With this in mind, here are some tips on how you can make the process of becoming a blended family as smooth as possible for you, your former partner, any new family members and, most importantly of all, your kids.

Make everything official

It’s hard to start afresh with something serious such as marriage, custody agreement or housing arrangements still unresolved, so make sure that you get everything formally sorted out before you move on properly. Some issues, such as your official divorce, if you and your former partner were legally married, custody arrangements and other issues will require the use of a family or divorce lawyer. If you have a look online for the right solicitor you can find someone to help you finalise all arrangements and allow you and your former partner to move on with your lives in a civilised manner. 

Be honest with your children

During a difficult process such as leaving your former partner and moving on with a new one, it can be hard for parents to discuss everything that’s going on openly with their children, particularly if they’re young. Whilst you won’t be able to explain everything in detail to your kids, you should make sure that they’re aware of what’s going on and don’t lie to them, as your children will be able to see that something is wrong and become unsettled. 

Avoid bribing your kids

After separating from your partner, it can be easy for parents to want to fix things by bribing their children with presents, but this can create a negative outlook for kids, and also build resentment from other members of your family. Therefore, it’s important that you try to avoid buying your children expensive gifts and giving them everything they want. Consult your former partner before making any major purchases and make it clear that both parents are contributing financially, so that your children understand that they are equally loved and that both parents are involved and invested in their upbringing and happiness. 

Create a safe and nurturing atmosphere

Your children need to feel safe in their home, so during your separation you should keep any fighting out of the house and away from your kids. Try to only bring positive energy into your home, and if you’re not able to say something pleasant about your former partner, then simply stop speaking about them, or only refer to them in relation to their role as your children’s parent. 

Try to stay on good terms with your former partner

Whilst your ex might no longer be your partner, they’re still a parent to your children, so it’s important that you try to stay on good terms with them if you can. Avoid bickering with them and being petty, and instead try to be supportive. Stick to any arrangements that you have regarding your childcare, so you both avoid conflict and are able to co-parent effectively. 

Welcome new members of your family and be supportive

Eventually, your former partner will move on and find someone else, and when they do it’s important that you try your best to be supportive and welcoming. Remember that it’s never easy meeting a new partner’s children and former partner, so be kind to them and try to be as understanding as possible. If they have children too, work with them to combine your families and ensure that everyone feels comfortable and happy. 

Support your children when you’re introducing them to your new partner 

Once you find a new partner, you need to introduce them to your children and welcome them into your family. Be supportive when introducing a new partner to your kids, and communicate you’re your children throughout the process so that they know that they are still loved and cherished. This will help them to adjust to the new situation as quickly as possible, so that you can all move on with your lives together. 

Take things slowly

Pushing too many major changes on your children at once will unsettle and upset them, so try to take things slowly with your new partner. Do not ask them to move in too quickly, and make sure that they’re definitely the person that you’re interested in so that your children don’t have to keep meeting new partners on a regular basis. Try to integrate new changes into your kid’s lives slowly so that they aren’t overwhelmed and have enough time to adjust before you make further amendments to their lives. 

Be civil with everyone

Redefining your version of a family can be tough, but it’s important that you’re courteous and considerate with everyone so that no one struggles too much. Be kind to everyone in your new family and try your best to help them adjust to these changing circumstances. Never badmouth anyone in your family around other members, particularly the children, as this could affect their perception of others and make the situation more complicated and less enjoyable for everyone. You might not be able to like everyone instantly, but you can insist that you all respect each other, for the sake of your children and your own wellbeing. 

Limit your expectations

Once you’ve found a new partner and moved on, it’s easy to think that everything will be perfect from now on, but with families this is very rarely the case. Be prepared for arguments, hassle and tantrums (from children and adults). Try your best to view these challenges as opportunities to learn and grow as a family, rather than serious issues that cannot be resolved. 

Make time to give every member of the family individual attention and support

When you’ve got a big blended family, it’s easy to neglect spending one-on-one time with individuals, particularly children. As such, you should try your best to make time to spend with each person on a regular basis. This could be by taking up hobbies that will allow you to enjoy their company, or simply by arranging to spend time with them away from everyone else. This will ensure that you make everyone in your blended family feel welcome and understand that you’re there for them and love them, even when things seem to be changing constantly. 

Agree on a schedule for holidays

Holidays such as Christmas, New Year and Easter, as well as celebrations such as birthdays, can be tricky when you’re a blended family, so it’s important that you’re organised and make all of your arrangements in advance. Communicate and make sure that you set up a schedule so that everyone knows what’s going on and no one feels left out. By being prepared, you can make sure that your holidays as a blended family are successful and that everyone has a great time. 

It’s never easy entwining your life with someone else’s, especially when one or both of you have children. We hope these tips help you to make things easier and take the hassle out of becoming a blended family.

Things to consider before getting dermal fillers

Whilst it still has its fans, botox is so last decade in terms of fighting the never-ending war against ageing. For those opting not to go under the knife, dermal fillers are THE #1 buzz words when it comes to knocking years off your age. Before you rush off to do an internet search for dermal fillers Surrey you should do your research and make sure you are fully aware of what these fillers are made from and what they will do for you.

Decisions Decisions

Most of us at some time do not like what we see staring back at us in the mirror. We spend millions a year on toners, cleansers, moisturisers and creams that promise we will go to bed and wake up looking 10 years younger. While a good beauty routine essential, being realistic is equally important. Are you going to carry on just using the creams and serums or is it the right time for you to take the next step? You could be a 28 year old looking at preventing the signs of aging making an appearance or a 68 year old looking to make that reflection a lot more appealing. Only you can decide whether this treatment is the right move to make, don't let anyone talk you into something you aren't comfortable with.

Only a Professional Will Do

Do not let anyone inject anything into any part of your body if they are not a fully trained medical professional. There are little beauty salons in the back streets of most towns and cities whose only qualifications are the ones they have received online with little or no practical experience. A simple injection may seem an easy thing to do but get the dosage wrong or inject the wrong place and you could end up in serious trouble.Rylan Clark-Neal is well known for having enhancements and he spoke out about having lip fillers done by somebody who wasn't properly trained. In a frank interview with a magazine, he recalled being on This Morning during his time on the X Factor and was laughing when his lip literally burst open. This was his wake up call to only make safe and informed decisions about his health. Wise words we should all heed to.

What's in that Syringe and What Does it Do?

A filler is a substance similar to gel which is then injected into different areas of the face. Both the depth of the jab, and the fillers consistency, dictates the result you will be left with. Deeper injections with a firm filler will create volume and add shape to a face. Medium depth injections with a medium-firm filler will reduce lines and creased whilst a superficial injection of soft filler which only pierces the dermis will help to plump up and rehydrate the skin as well as smoothing out wrinkles.

Safe and Effective

Talking to the professional carrying out your treatment and deciding on the result you want in advance is how to avoid disaster. It's virtually impossible to end up with the dreaded duck lips after one injection, unless you are being a guinea pig for somebody who is not properly trained and is getting jab happy! This is your face, your reflection, so make the best decision for both of you.