Friday, 7 September 2018

5 Hair Care Tips for Dry Hair

I have naturally dry hair that I've pretty much struggled with for most of my life. It has taken me YEARS to find a way to look after my hair well; keeping it feeling soft, smooth and healthy and find hair products to help keep my dry hair in it's best condition. 

I wanted to share my FIVE top tips with you...


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs



TIP #1
WASH HAIR LESS

Just as water can dry out the skin, it can do the same to your hair. 
Over-shampooing can make dry hair much drier. Plus, when the natural oils produced by the scalp (sebum) aren't given chance to nourish the hair, this can leave the hair feeling dry, frizzy and more prone to damage. Plus, over washing away the sebum can cause it to overproduce, leaving your scalp feeling greasy. 

If you can, train your hair to be washed less! I now wash my hair just ONCE A WEEK! 
It may feel greasy or uncomfortable, to begin with, but it'll balance itself out within a couple of weeks, and it's nothing a bit of Dry Shampoo can't fix! (my fave Dry Shampoo smells Ah-may-zing, contains collagen and is tinted so can hide those pesky grey hairs that keep appearing - WINNING!

Give it a go!! Your hair will thank you for it!!



TIP #2
FIND HAIR PRODUCTS THAT SUIT YOUR HAIR

It has taken me SOOOO long to find hair products that suit. But I ADORE the products I use now and re-purchase over and over.

Look for a gentle moisturising shampoo aimed at dry hair. Shampoos that contain natural oils are fantastic for dry hair. Avoid silicone based products when possible, as these can coat the hair shaft stopping the natural oils from doing it's job, but if you do decide to (now you're only washing once a week anyway, right? ;) ) use a clarifying shampoo regularly alongside too. 

And choose a super nourishing conditioner plus an indulgent Conditioning Mask for an extra treat every couple of weeks.

I'm currently loving L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Shampoo & Conditioner (£2.99 each/Boots); it has a luxurious, oil-rich formula that makes my hair look and feel really soft. One size doesn't fit all of course, as with skincare products, what works for one may not work for another; find products that work well for you and are aimed at your hair type. Every couple of weeks, I treat my hair to a deep conditioning mask. Now, this stuff is my MOST-FAVOURITE-EVER-HAIR-PRODUCT-IN-THE-ENTIRE-WORLD!! I've used many conditioning masks over the years, but this stuff, for me, is HEAVEN! ActiLabs Capill-Hair Conditioning Mask (£9.00) is designed to gently nourish hair, without adding weight. The silky soft formula is both sulfate-free and packed with the essential vitamins and nutrients your hair needs to stay soft, smooth and grow healthily. Packed with keratin and collagen to help with structure, shea butter to replenish moisture and wheat protein which is known to help thicken and add natural volume to hair, add shine and repair damaged hair, it makes my hair feel BLOODY AMAZING!! I honestly cannot stop touching my hair afterwards, it's definitely a holy-grail kinda product!!


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs, conditioning mask



TIP #3
TREAT WITH EXTRA CARE

Dry hair is fragile and prone to damage, so needs a bit of extra care!
Handle gently; being rough can lead to breakage and split ends.

Gently pull shampoo through the hair from scalp to ends rather than scrubbing, applying conditioner from mid-length to ends and using a comb or brush that is designed specifically for use on wet hair will minimise damage. Rinse with warm water rather than hot and sealing the cuticle with a blast of cold water after conditioning. Squeeze water out gently and pat dry with a towel rather than rubbing. All of these things will help keep hair soft and smooth.  


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs


TIP #4
USE LESS HEAT

While it helps hair look shinier, heat is damaging to hair and is one of the main causes of dryness. If you can, let hair dry naturally. If not, choose a warm setting rather than hot and hold a few inches away from your head. Minimise heat damage by using heat protection.

As I only wash once a week, I give it a quick blow dry and then run through with my straighteners. I tend not to use any more heat throughout the week unless I'm feeling a few curls or loose waves. I use ActiLabs Capill-Hair 'Leave It' Conditioning Styling Lotion (£7.50) for a loose light-weight, soft hold. A leave-in conditioner that helps to protect hair strands, not only keeping it in place but helping it stay nourished and shiny all day long. It has a triple-action formula that is perfect if you want to style without a strong hold or the look of heavily-styled hair.


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs



TIP #5
DON'T OVER STYLE

Regular pulling of hair from the root can be damaging to any hair. If you can, leave it down to flow naturally as much as possible. If you have to wear it up, use hair ties that are less likely to rip or dent hair like Popbands; they look super cute on the wrist too ;) 

I try to wear my hair down as much as I can. If I slightly curl my hair at the beginning of the week, I can usually get away with wearing my hair naturally throughout the week. 
I spray my hair daily with Superdrug Argan Hair Therapy Spray (£3.99) which is a multi-purpose spray formulated with Argan Oil and Tahitian Monoi Coconut Oil extracts to condition and protect hair. I use it on wet hair, dry hair and every day to spritz through and run my fingers through my hair to detangle, keep it feeling soft, moisturised, reduce frizz and protect against environmental stress. I love it!!

And regular trims will help stay on top of those dead ends and keep it in good condition.



So there we have it.
The basic rules of keeping dry hair soft and healthy are to wash less, treat it well and add more moisture!


Do you have dry hair? What are your tips?

hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs, Pinterest







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Sunday, 26 August 2018

A Letter to You on Your 4th Birthday

4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family


Dear Taylor,


Today you turned 4.

Many people are shocked that you're 4 already, whilst others can't quite believe you're only 4 as we can't remember life without you... plus you like to think and act like you're a lot older than you are! ;) 

Today was a crazy busy day, but hearing you repeatedly shout, 'This is the BEST birthday EVER!' and tell me that you 'wish every day could be like today' before you closed your eyes to sleep tonight, makes my heart burst with happiness and I'm glad I did you proud today. You deserve it.

You fell asleep straight away, you were exhausted. As am I! 

I stayed with you until you fell asleep, then got into my PJs, took off my makeup and got the laptop out to work, the same routine every evening knowing that when I wake up tomorrow, you'll be there next to me after climbing into my bed during the night, as you do every night without fail. But I wouldn't change it for the world...  this is our life.

So, your 4th year... 

You started school part-time, and you absolutely love it. I was so proud of how you adapted to your new adventure. You've made lots of new friends and you've learnt so much! 
You've definitely come into your own this year. You've gained a little attitude, probably compliments of your teenage brother. And you challenge me every single day. 
Strong willed, shall we say. I hope you don't lose that; that focus, that drive, that 'knowing what you want'. I mean, I don't appreciate the attitude, the lack of patience and respect, but we'll continue to work on that! ;)


4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family


I'm proud of how far you've come this year. 

I was so so sad for you when your Daddy and I split up. But now I realise what's best for you, for all of us and I hope you'll be proud of me one day for the life I'm working hard to provide for you and your big brother and the way I'm striving to bring you both up.

I love when you tell me what you're grateful for in the mornings. I hope you grow up practising gratitude and realising how lucky you are for everything you have. 

I love how proud you are of yourself when you learn something new or get something right you've been working on. Seeing you learn to write your name and read new words at 3 years old was amazing. I'm so proud of you, baby. I hope you continue to enjoy learning and feel proud of yourself when you succeed at something new. 

I'm so glad you enjoyed your birthday.

The way your eyes lit up when you walked in the lounge and saw your presents made the 3 hours I was sat building that wooden kitchen until midnight last night all worth it ;) 
You loved your party and seeing all your school friends. I've loved playing with all your new toys with you. You love role play, using your imagination. You wanted a play kitchen, even a pushchair and a little boy baby (who you've named Zac after your favourite The Greatest Showman actor), watching you create your own scenarios and use your imagination to imitate real life play is beautiful.  


4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family


Next week you start full-time school. You're excited and I hope that continues. I can't wait to see you grow and learn this year. I hope it calms you down a little, as your behaviour has been 'challenging' lately. Getting back into a routine will help. We've had lots of fun this Summer and I'll miss you lots once you're in full-time school. But I'll make sure the time we do spend together will be full of fun and cuddles. You're growing so fast and I want to treasure every moment. 

I love you with every heartbeat, I'm so grateful for you! 

You make me the person I am, you help me grow and you teach me something new every single day. I will forever keep doing my best to make you proud, be the best Mummy I can possibly be and fulfil my aim of bringing you and your brother up to be decent young men that treat people with respect. You call me Wonder Woman, and that, my beautiful boy, is exactly what I'll strive to be.


Let's see what your 5th year brings...


I love you, Taylor. 
All the stars in the world. 


Love, Mummy xxx






4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family

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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Bring Favourite Children's Stories to Life

Do your children have a favourite book? I'm a big believer in 'if children have an interest, follow it, extend it and challenge them.' It probably comes from my background in Child Development, but I love finding ways to extend their interests, especially with things like stories and movies. 

I call it 'story-stretching'.


children stories, Julia Donaldson, story stretching, A stretch and a squeeze


Over the years, I've been a huge fan of Julia Donaldson's books. 
I mean, who doesn't love The Gruffalo?? 

My eldest really loved Stick Man when he was little, and Monkey Puzzle was one of my favourite stories to read to the children when I was an Early Years Teacher. 
So it's no surprise I love sharing them with my youngest now too.
children stories, Julia Donaldson,monkey puzzle, reading


There is a world of possibilities to bring the magic of a story to life, here are a few we've tried recently:

Extend their Imaginations 

After reading A Squash and A Squeeze, a rhyming story involving farm animals, it led to lots of chat about animals; where they lived, what noises they made etc so I created this farmyard small world play in the tuft spot using cereals. Taylor loves imaginative role play, so he really enjoyed playing with the animals. He enjoyed setting it up with me, crunching up the Weetabix and then stamping the animals through the cereal. Sensory play is crucial to brain development so I love finding new ideas to explore different textures through play.
children stories, Julia Donaldson, story stretching, sensory play, farm, small world
children stories, Julia Donaldson, sensory play, farmyard small world,

Play Games

We love The Gruffalo, so when I found this Pairs Card Game, I snapped it up (no pun intended!) as knew the familiar characters would help keep Taylor's concentration. The cards contain lots of different animals from the story so it was fantastic for building on his knowledge and understanding of animals as well as improving memory skills.
children stories, Julia Donaldson, memory game, gruffalo
children stories, Julia Donaldson, gruffalo, memory game


Go See it Live!

We recently visited our local theatre, the Curve, to watch Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, a live adaptation of Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler favourites ‘Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town & A Squash and a Squeeze.' 

Taylor had previously visited the theatre before, to see another Julia Donaldson show, What the Ladybird Heard which had a bright and colourful backdrop that really kept his attention. So seeing the simple set up of two step ladders, a plank of wood and a table, I was intrigued by how it would develop into a highly visual production for little ones. But as soon as the three actors, Anna Larkin, Alex Tosh and Maryam Grace (images are of previous cast) entered the stage with bags stuffed with props which were to be bought to life throughout the performance, the fast-paced show quickly pulled us in. 


children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,
children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,



With everyday items being transformed into animals, very inventive staging and a little imagination, the stories are recreated perfectly and the whole production is very cleverly put together from start to finish. 

The cast are truly talented; singing, dancing, playing instruments, storytelling with clever puppetry and generally keeping the whole family entertained and transfixed throughout the whole 60 minutes. Everything was so professionally done, from the quick costume changes and how they used the props to change up the set whilst moving into different stories and scenes. Changing biscuit tins and books on a table into little houses in a clever switch up of stories. And the underwater scenes using torches, shadows and waterproof coats were beautiful, but I won't ruin it for you, you need to see it to believe!


children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,

children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,


Taylor loves being on Mini Blogger duty, and when asked for his thoughts following the show, he said: 'My favourite part was when the Monkey found his Mummy... and I loved when the Giant's trousers fell down and we could see his pants, that was funny!'

We really loved it, we sat together dancing along, gasping as random items were turned into animals, giggling at the funny parts and ... seeing your children smiling away, singing along to the repetitive and catchy rhymes (which he's still singing now, a week later!) is just magical!


Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales is on tour until the end of August, check out the tour dates at tiddlerlive.com, and if you're local to Leicester, check out the Curve for some fantastic family favourites this Summer.



We received complimentary tickets to see the performance

Please Note: The current cast members are not of those in the press images included




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Sunday, 24 June 2018

Date Ideas for You and Your Teen Son

I read an article recently about the importance of one-to-one time with teenage boys. Boys crave attention from their parents, particularly their Mum.

When my eldest was young, we spent so much time together. 
He was an only child for 10 years, he was very much spoilt, materialistically as well as with my time.
So when siblings arrived, so did a little jealousy. 

Since starting Secondary School and hitting the teenage years, his behaviour and attitude have been difficult. And the majority of the attention he gets from me isn't good attention. 

But I've realised that we need to spend regular one-to-one time together.
He may be 14, but it's important to keep that mother/son bond strong.
It shows them they're important, which boosts their self-esteem. There is no sibling rivalry or fighting for attention, for a short time you're all theirs! It gives the opportunity for them to open up if they need to.


mum of boys, teenage son, mum son date nights



Here are a few Date Ideas for You and Your Teen Son:


1.  Ice Cream Date
All kids love ice cream right? Whatever their age.
Head out to an ice cream bar and chat over waffles and chocolate sauce!
Let conversation flow naturally.


mum of boys, teenage son, mum son date nights
credit


2. Movie Marathon
Let them choose a couple of films, or even better, choose one each for the ultimate compromise! 
Remember not to talk about chores, their bad grades or behaviour, just enjoy each others company.


3. An Adventurous Road Trip
Pick a place on a map, within reason. Or head to the train station and buy a ticket to a destination on the board and go exploring. It's fun, it's different and there will be something for children of all ages to do. It makes for some fantastic Insta material, which most teenagers love!! 
We've done something like this a few years ago, we called it Magical Mystery Day
I think I'm going to have to re-name it something a bit more grown up nowadays, maybe an Insta Adventure!!


mum of boys, teenage son, mum son date nights
credit


4.  Visit the Theatre
My 14-year-old and I recently headed to the Curve Theatre for a theatre date! 
We saw Mischief Movie Night - a completely improvised movie live on stage, produced by the Mischief Theatre; the creators of The Play That Goes Wrong, which I'd heard so many good things about, so I was really looking forward to it. 


mum of boys, teenage son, mum son date nights, theatre, curve Leicester, mischief movie night, mischief theatre


The idea behind this quirky, cleverly thought out show is for the team of 8 actors, headed by producer Jonathan Sayer, to create a completely improvised movie, based on the audience's choice of genre. 
After shouting out a few genre and topic ideas, it was decided that our movie would be a sci-fi / romantic comedy ensemble, featuring... dinosaurs! And after a member of the audience aptly named the movie 'Mars, Actually' (I know right, legend!! ;) ), the actors got to work on stage. 


mum of boys, teenage son, mum son date nights, theatre, curve Leicester, mischief movie night, mischief theatre


From start to finish, both myself and Bradley were giggling away. There were moments I couldn't catch my breath, it was a hilariously brilliant show complete with brilliantly timed directors cuts, rewinds, playbacks and more from director / narrator Jonathon who would stop the movie abruptly, shouting 'PAUSE!' at the most perfect moments, which Bradley found fantastic! 

The mixture of comedy, improvised acting and musical aspects all tied in beautifully and was so cleverly done! 


mum of boys, teenage son, mum son date nights, theatre, curve Leicester, mischief movie night, mischief theatre



It was most definitely the FUNNIEST theatre show I have ever seen and made for the perfect date night with my teenage son! He wanted to book tickets for the rest of the week! And with a different show each night, I'm confident every night would have been fantastic.
We'll definitely be making the theatre a regular location for our date nights, and checking out the Curve Theatre for more fantastic shows for us to enjoy together. 


The teenage years can be difficult, for both of you.
It's so important to create new memories together and keep the lines of communication open.






Do you have any ideas for Mum / Son date night to share?




*Theatre tickets gifted to us by the Curve for the purpose of this post
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