A Parents Guide To A-Levels | AD

14 November 2020

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration. 

When the time comes for your child to choose their A Level subjects, they might be feeling a range of emotions, from excitement to anxiety. The decision carries a lot of weight, as it can determine what your child goes on to study at university or what career route they go down. Parents should try and do as much research as possible so that they are in a position to support their teenagers through this challenging time. Here’s some advice from an A-Level college in the UK.

Love to learn sign
Start by chatting to your child about how they’re feeling and let them know that you support them no matter what. Ask them which of their current subjects they enjoy the most and which ones they’re best at, as these should be strong factors in the decision-making process. Enjoyment of the subject will result in the best grades.

It’s worth noting that a levels are very different to GCSEs and will require a lot more independent work. Do some research into the A level curriculum so that you can determine what kind of work is involved in the subject and how it will be graded. If it’s heavily coursework based and your child isn’t fond of coursework, it might not be the best option. 

Go along to any open evenings at the school with your son or daughter so that you can learn more about each of the A level subjects they’re interested in, ask lots of questions and generally just feel more informed so that they can make a decision they’re truly happy with. It might also help your child to chat to any older friends or relatives who have already done their A levels so that they can share some insight.

If your child plans to go to university and has a course in mind, you should have a look into what qualifications are required to secure a place. Many courses will require that the student has specific A levels, so looking ahead will help them make suitable choices and determine whether or not their goals are actually realistic.  

Bear in mind that A levels aren’t compulsory; there are other forms of education that your child could look into if they feel that would be more appropriate. However, there are many benefits to A levels, including easier access into universities and various employment options. While it’s important to support your child as best you can, try and let them make their own decisions, based on what they feel is right for them.
Michelle
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The Importance of Pastoral Care in Schools | AD

13 November 2020

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Pastoral care is a crucial element of any school; it ensures that the physical and emotional wellbeing of every single student is supported. The responsibility for pastoral care is shared amongst the teachers and other staff and enables children to develop successfully on both a personal and academic level. For a stronger understanding of why pastoral care is so important, an independent school in the West Midlands explore some of the benefits below.

boy sat in a classroom
From injuries in the playground to illnesses during school hours, pastoral care aims to deal with any accidents and sickness. Generally speaking, it involves protecting students and keeping them safe from any physical or emotional harm, both at school and within their personal lives. This involves monitoring each child closely and liaising with parents on a regular basis about any issues that arise so that they can be tackled fairly quickly. 

A child’s primary pastoral carer will be their form tutor, who spends time with them at least once a day and is able to keep an eye on them. They will watch out for any friendship problems, as well as monitoring their academic progress and ensuring they are completing their homework on time. If anything significant is happening at home, it would be worth letting your child’s form tutor know so that they can check in and make sure your child is handling it well. 

The pastoral care department must also ensure the school is safe and secure. The caretaker will be asked to regularly check the school boundaries and fire alarms to make sure everything is in check and any visitors to the premises will have to sign in and out. 

Each school will have their own policies and procedures when it comes to pastoral care to ensure that all staff are on the same page. It is often included in lessons, as children learn about bullying, sex education, drug and alcohol abuse, safe use of the internet and road safety. 

Children thrive in environments where they feel safe and happy, which is ultimately the true mark of pastoral care. When their time at school concludes, they will be able to make sensible decisions regarding their future, have built strong relationships with their peers and be equipped with appropriate skills and qualifications to help them succeed in life. If you want to know more about the pastoral care provided in your child’s school, don’t hesitate to contact the teachers for some additional information. 

Michelle
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Facts About Female Fertility | AD

12 November 2020

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration.

One of the first questions I get asked when I talk about the boys is "That is a big age gap." It is a huge gap, 11 years to be exact however not everyone is fortunate enough to fall pregnant as soon as they start trying. We were lucky with big J, the pregnancy happened naturally but after having him we then faced 11 years of trying before we finally had a healthy baby in our arms. 

a woman walking through a puddle
Fertility is a vastly complicated aspect of human anatomy and unfortunately often considered quite a taboo subject. For that reason, young people aren’t really taught enough about fertility when they’re in school and therefore don’t know how to maximise their chances of a successful pregnancy in the future. After all, the way we treat our bodies can determine whether or not we are able to conceive a child, especially by natural means. I have teamed up with an IVF fertility clinic in London to share four fantastic facts about female fertility to help us girls understand what’s actually going on inside our bodies and help us prepare for pregnancy, either now or in the future. 

A Woman Loses 3000-5000 Eggs Per Menstrual Cycle
When a female baby is born, she has the most eggs she’ll ever have; around 1-2 million! Eventually, this egg reserve runs out as a woman loses many of them during each menstrual cycle. Once a woman is around the age of 35, her fertility rapidly declines, which makes it a lot more challenging to conceive a baby naturally. Many women choose to freeze their eggs when they’re still young to preserve their fertility, so that they can have a baby in the future, when they feel more prepared. A man’s fertility also declines as he ages, as their sperm loses its quality. In fact, around 30% of infertility cases are due to the male party. 

BMI Can Affect A Woman’s Chances of Conceiving
BMI either underweight or overweight can prevent you from conceiving. For example, extreme exercise and dieting can prevent a woman’s menstrual cycle and therefore make it impossible to get pregnant. Eating fatty foods can lead to high blood pressure and other diseases, like diabetes, which can make conception difficult. You should try and aim for a healthy BMI of anything between 18.5 and 24.9. 

Some STIs Can Lead To Infertility
Gonorrhoea and chlamydia are the two most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK. Cases that are left untreated can cause various other problems, including infertility in both men and women. For instance, chlamydia can leave scarring in the fallopian tubes which prevents the egg from travelling to the womb. If this has happened to you, you might want to consider IVF, as it essentially bypasses the need for viable fallopian tubes. 

Smoking During Pregnancy Can Cause Harm To The Baby
There are lots of potential health risks associated with smoking while pregnant. In fact, it can even cause fertility issues for the child when they grow up. Other issues are things like low birth weight, preterm birth and defects of the mouth and lip. If you need help with quitting smoking, don’t hesitate to contact your GP. 

When I was younger I just assumed I would grow up and have babies whenever I was ready but as we know this just isn't the way it works. Understanding your body and making small lifestyle changes can really help. 

Michelle
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Christmas Gift Ideas For The Adults

9 November 2020

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Disclosure - We were sent the products below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

I know we have no idea what Christmas will look like this year but I am sure you have someone special to buy for this Christmas and if you are struggling for ideas then look below for some gift inspiration. 

christmas gift guide
Mavic Mini













The Mavic Mini FlyCam is extremely light and portable weighing just 249 grams. Mavic Mini’s weight allows it to stay in the air longer than similar consumer FlyCams on the market. Enjoy up to 30 minutes of flight time with a fully-charged battery.

Zippo
Gamers and fans of Assassins Creed will love this Zippo. With the upcoming release of Assassins Creed Valhalla this will prove to be a popular gift choice this year.

Zippo Heat Bank
Practical hand warmer with 6 levels: the reusable Zippo pocket warmer can be adjusted to 6 levels up to 50 °C, so you can find exactly your desired temperature. Can also be used as a power bank – the Zippo power bank hand warmer is not only your hand warmer in winter, but also a practical power bank with 5200 mAh all year round.

Any Sharp
Restore a super sharp cutting edge to blunt knives with this knife sharpener from AnySharp. No special sharpening skills required; anyone can get great results. Easy to use, simply draw your knife through the AnySharp sharpener 3 to 4 times using light pressure.

Easiyo Yogurt MakerFor use with EasiYo Yogurt maker. Each sachet makes one kilo of fresh yogurt. New Black Design, Requires no electricity, No fuss, No mess. Made in 3 Simple Steps; simple and cost effective.

ion8 bottle
The ION8 Stainless Steel 600ml Water Bottle. Keep hydrated with this thermal insulated bottle which opens with just one touch. Easy to carry and available in a range of stunning colours.

Wicker Picnic Cooler Seat
Kikkerland Collapsible Wicker Print Picnic Cooler Basket & Seat. Keeps hot or cold for 4 hours with a 5.8 gallon/22 Litre capacity. You can also use this basket as a seat and it has a sitting capacity 180 lbs / 80 kg.
Vaso Glass Straws
Vaso premium glass straws are reusable, environmentally friendly and sustainable. Every straw delivers a pure, unaffected taste. No plastics, BPA, toxins or mineral oils are used to manufacture the straws. The Vaso straws are easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher.

Be:Loved products
BeLoved 100% natural pet care range is a superb gift idea for any occasion for your four legged friend. 

Be:Loved 100% Natural Shampoo Bar. Sand, sea, leaves, muddy streams, sticky fingers and endless pets can leave your dog’s coat looking less than perfect. However, with Be:Loved handmade, 100% natural shampoo bars it is possible to wash on the go.

Be:Loved Nose & Paw Balm. The Nose and Paw Balms are perfect for on-the-go fixes for those little aches and scrapes that come from being an adventure dog, the Be:Safe, First Aid & Ache Nose & Paw Balm is just the ticket. 

Be:Fresh Probiotic Home & Kennel Sanitising Spray. Accidents happen and when they do it’s easy to clean up with this specially formulated spray. Use to clean, scent and protect your dog’s bed – the spray is safe for use on fabrics - and surrounding areas whilst on holiday.

the positive diary
The Positive Planner is a 12 week planner and journal dedicated to self-care, the practice of gratitude and encouragement of daily positivity. A powerful daily companion, The Positive Planner helps to cope with life's daily challenges and offers support through tough times.

winter bouquet
A special Christmas bouquet inspired by winter walks on a brisk, sunny day. What more could you need as the perfect Christmas gift. This bouquet combines the elegance of luscious red carnations and scented red lilies with subtle green foliage and the earthy tone of pine cones and hypericum berries finish off this festive masterpiece. Elegantly arranged and sent via a tracked courier direct to their home or office this Christmas.

Bellica Puzzle

Puzzle and military enthusiasts will enjoy the new military history-themed range of 1000-piece puzzles. Designed by award-winning aviation artist Keith Burns, the Bellica Beaufighter Long Run Home 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle is just one from the range of ten stunning WW2 combat depictions that will be of interest to any military history fan.

Box of Favours
Box of Favours - Show someone how much you care about them by treating them to special favours. This beautifully designed box filled with cards is the perfect stocking filler this Christmas- for Him or Her. 15 beautifully designed favour cards with gold foil boarder held in place by black velvet covered foam. 10 of these cards have set favours and 5 are left blank for you to write your own personal favours.

ink and drop poster print

ink and drop poster print

ink and drop poster print
Ink & Drop is a small, family business, born from a passion for all things interior, and in particular, unique cool art prints.

This bold neon slogan print will have heads turning and make your interior stand out from the crowd.
Beautiful neon style trendy art print, featuring popular lyrics from The Waterboys, perfect for any modern interior and music lover.

Famous quote from Tony Stark at the end of Avengers Endgame. This Neon style super punchy photographic artwork will bring a striking burst of trendy neon colour to an interior space.

Hakuna Matata, meaning No Worries! The famous, feel-good slogan from The Lion King movie, set against a beautiful Tropical leafy background image.

tesalate towel
Tesalate towels are compact, lightweight and perfect for any traveller as not only do they dry in half the time as a regular towel but they are completely sand free, with a built in sand repellant. There are lots of designs to choose from and you can choose from a towel for one or a towel for two.

glo32 whitening system
Glo32 Teeth Whitening System is an effective stain removal in just 20 minutes. You can double your glow with the advanced whitening system kit, including a 14 Day treatment of advanced whitening strips to lift your smile, and the advanced whitening stilo for on the go whitening. The Glo32 Teeth Whitening System Whitens teeth by gently reducing surface stains and discolouration.

 
Seams cream

Seams couturiers hand cream with shea butter, rosehip oil & oat beta glucan to mend, moisturise & soften dry, distressed hands.

humble brush
Developed and recommended by dentists - The Humble toothbrush is naturally anti bacterial and a perfect stocking filler for travellers. It's recommended use is 3 months just like any other old plastic toothbrush.
sons shampoo
Sons are a men’s haircare start-up, whose products are tried, tested and loved by guys, with products from their luxurious thickening shampoo to the full works box which is clinically proven to fight hair loss. Sons offer a subscription box and from 1st December to 23rd December Sons gift cards will be available to buy exclusively from www.sons.co.uk.

Pants and Socks Subscription Box
I am a huge fan of subscription boxes and this is perfect for the man in your life. Get fresh Pants & Socks, whenever they need them. There is a wide range of pants and socks to choose from which caters for all and top brand names too. 

johnsons products
Aveeno Mum and Baby gift set
Deciding what to buy for a new Mum and Baby can be tough however there is nothing better than pamper products. Johnsons and Aveeno offer a range of products suitable for both Mum and Baby. 

The Aveeno Baby Mum & Baby Giftset is the perfect skincare bundle for new mums or mums to be.

It includes Daily Moisturising Lotion, Baby Daily Care Hair & Body Wash, Baby Daily Care Moisturising Lotion  and a soft teddy bear comforter.

Johnson’s Bedtime NaturalCalm fragrance is centered around soft floral and powdery notes to help soothe baby before bed. Johnson's understands how special bedtime is to parents and their little ones and want to ensure it’s as calm as possible to create memorable moments, with the help of our known and loved scents along with a soothing bath and massage.

The baby hamper

The baby hamper
Whether it's a gift for a newborn boy or girl, this 'Really Useful' baby hamper is always popular with new mums. Containing a variety of practical baby gifts to make new parents life just a little bit easier!

The medium hamper box contains
Aden and Anais Musy, muslin square in 'Winnie the Pooh' print.
Wooden rainbow rattle.
Baby Bunting Star print bodysuit - Age 0-3 months.
Baby Bunting Star print hat - Age 0-6 months.

Mary Poppins Diary
This stunning diary includes a beautiful finish on the hard back front cover and the layout is week-to-view so plenty of room for appointments. The official diary includes address pages, notable dates, and a year-to-view calendar.   This is perfect for a Mary Poppins fan.

Lady and the tramp desk calendar
This Disney Animation Desk Block is a page-a-day calendar and each day you will get your daily dose of Disney for 2021.  There will be memorable images from all your favourite Disney films with facts about that film.  In fact the very first Disney Animated film was 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' in 1938 and one of their latest animated films is 'Disney Onwards.'


Gruffalo Planner
The Gruffalo Family Planner is a 17-month year Planner (August 2020 December 2021), which hangs to a length of 30 x 60 cm when opened. The planner has 5 columns, which offer you and your family plenty of room for noting all those important dates and events. Includes over 150 activity and event stickers, and a sturdy drop down pocket for invitations and reminders.

Jana Reinhardt necklace

Jana Reinhardt jewellery designs are inspired by the natural world and the naive art movement. They don't use machine manufacture and much rather prefer the old technique of wax carving and fabrication to create their products. Using the traditional methods means there is no negative effect on the environment, making Jana Reinhardt a more sustainable choice for jewellery lovers.

The Jana Reinhardt whale necklace, is a must-have for anyone who appreciates these gentle giants of the sea.  Part of the spirit animal collection, the whale is considered by many cultures as the guardian of oceans and sea travel - making this pendant a great choice if you’re planning a voyage somewhere over the waves.

secret santa poo pourri
Poo-Pourri Secret Santa Before You Go Toilet Spray is the perfect stocking filler or secret santa gift and will bring nostalgic festive smells that captures the magic of Winter, and everyone’s favourite holiday season into your home.

Carfume


Carfume offer a range of premium car fresheners that are inspired by perfumes and aftershaves.

The glass bottles with bespoke, carved wooden tops look so elegant and will add a touch of class to your car whilst giving you a long lasting aroma.
 
Guylian ChocolateGuyLian Belgian chocolate sea shells are sure to deliver you the ultimate chocolate experience. Capture the exquisite taste of original chocolate sea shells. Each carefully crafted with a blend of delicious white, milk or dark Belgian chocolate. Not one of them has exactly the same marbled look as the other one. Each Belgian chocolate is filled with the delicious GuyLian roasted hazelnut praline.

oggs mince pies
Oggs mince pies are melt in the mouth, crumbly deep and sweet, they go perfectly with sherry, a fantastically festive treat.

panettone
Loison DiVino panettone with late harvest wine is a wonderfully rich Italian cake to enjoy with morning coffee or a glass of dessert wine. Loison’s signature panettone recipe with fresh butter, milk, eggs and luxurious Madagascan vanilla is paired here with a blend of raisin wines and juicy sultana raisins. 

aduna relax tea
Aduna Relax is an organic African Super-Tea with Cinnamon Spiced Cacao Superfood. Each individual box contains 15 tea pyramids containing whole ingredient pieces for superior brewing experience

Mermaid Salt Vodka
Mermaid salt vodka at 40% abv is hand-crafted at the isle of wight distillery and shot through with a pinch of locally sourced sea salt, enhancing its smoothness and accentuating its subtle flavour.

Cranes Liqueur
Cranes delicious and smooth cranberry and blood orange liqueur is made with the finest cranberries from Wisconsin USA along with blood orange juice and orange rind. Over 115 delicious cranberries go into making one 50cl bottle, creating the perfect rich and smooth liqueur.

         
Parma Violet Gin liqueur
TW Kempton Parma Violet gin liqueur. Parma violets are truly having their moment in the spotlight, and this purple gin liqueur from TW Kempton is just one example! The botanical notes of the base gin are accompanied by sweet and floral notes of nostalgic parma violet sweeties. Plus, the colour will make any cocktail look fabulous.

personalised champagne bottle

personalised champagne bottle

For a Christmas present this year, why not treat your loved ones to Say It With Champers fantastic festive Champagnes? The Christmas themed customised Champagne present is the perfect answer, with the formal laurel and Christmas tree effect while being decorated with a Christmas light effect and traditional Christmas colours, this design is perfectly suited for the festive season, all you need to do is add your festive wishes and your bespoke Christmas gift will be created.

Michelle

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Family Walk At Rivington Pike

2 November 2020

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Sometimes the best thing to do at the moment with all the restrictions and constant change to what we can and can't do is to find somewhere new to explore and have a day outdoors. We had heard about Rivington Pike a few times before so after some research about the type of walk we could expect we headed out on another adventure. 

View from Rivington Pike


To start your walk, you can park at either The Great Barn House Cafe, or on the road up to Rivington Hall Barn. We parked further away at the Barn House Cafe, as the toilets and availability of parking suited us better. This made our walk a little longer but it was good to be able to get freshened up before we started. From there you walk up to Rivington Hall Barn and your walk starts here. 

Climbing a Rivington Tree


There are multiple paths you can choose to start with, however we followed the signposts pointing towards Rivington Pike which took us around the back of the Barn, past a small waterfall and then up towards Breres Meadow, which has a well maintained path and the remains of a long dead tree that looked fun to climb on. 

Summer House


As you follow the path you will be heading towards the Terraced Gardens which hide a lot of different areas to explore.  There are maps dotted around the Terraced Gardens so that you can decide which of the areas to explore and plan your route accordingly. 

remains of a Summer House

boy walking on bricks


Within the Terraced Gardens there are many 'crazy paving footpaths' that lead to Man Made Caves, The Japanese Gardens, 2 Summer houses and the ruins of a stone Bothy - where the servants used to live. They are quite spread out, and you will need some time to be able to visit all in one day.  On the outskirts of the terraced gardens there is also Lever Bridge and Pigeon Tower that are also worth a look, and we plan to visit again shortly to be able to pick up the parts that we missed this time around.

Rivington Pike In The Distance


Once you break out of the gardens the Pike will be visible, and again there are a number of routes you can take depending on where you come out of the gardens.  We ended up at the far right end of the gardens and our route to the pike from here was quite long with the path more rocky than previous paths had been which made the walk more of a challenge. The path took us out past Bolton Wanderers ground and some great views of the local area, and then swept back round to the left and up to the Pike. 

Rivington Pike


Once at the top it was noticeable that the temperature was lower and the wind stronger. It was also very busy at the top with lots of people having made the journey enjoying the views and sitting on one of the four benches to have lunch. 

A view from Rivington Pike

Looking down from Rivington Pike


We took a different route down which took us past the Summer Houses and Lever Bridge. You could climb into the gaps in the bridge which was good for Little J who wanted to get as high as he could. We then headed down towards Lower House Car Park, which always has an Ice Cream Van there, to reward Little J for his efforts.  

Bridge


From there it was a short walk back to Rivington Hall Barn and then back to the Great Barn House Cafe and Car Park. Overall the walk took us around 4 hours, with a stop for lunch at the top included in this time.  It is one of those places that you would get to know the more you visit so you can expect the walk time to reduce depending on the route you choose and how well you get to know the area. 

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It was another day out that we all really enjoyed, and we will be heading back to explore more days out in the near future.

John
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