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Flexible working

By | Uncategorized
by Emma Cleary
Ten2Two Sussex

Five steps to making a flexible working request – when you’re already in a role.

If you’re in a current job but you’d like more flexibility, what should you do? Well, there’s a set procedure as outlined by ACAS that both you and your employer must adhere to when making a flexible working request. The same goes for asking for Shared Parental Leave.

We look at how you can have those tricky conversations with employers about flexibility and work-life balance.

Emma Cleary, Partner at Ten2Two Sussex says, “When you’re in a role, it can be difficult to find the right moment to discuss any changes with your employer. If your company is large, it’s likely to have a Human Resources department handling any changes to an individual’s contract. If it’s smaller, your conversation could be setting a precedent and your employer may be entering new territory for the first time.”

Choose your moment
If you work for a small company, asking for flexibility or Shared Parental Leave may feel uncomfortable but you’re within the law and it’s your right to ask, as long as you fulfil the conditions of service.

Know your rights
Look at what your company’s policy says about how requests should be made. You can find further advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

To have the statutory right to ask for flexible working arrangements, you must: be an employee and have worked for your employer continuously for 26 weeks at the date on which you make your application. For Shared Parental Leave, this needs to be at least 26 weeks up to the end of the qualifying week (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth). You must still be employed by the same employer in the week before any Shared Parental Leave is due to start.

Be clear about what you want
There are lots of ways flexible working hours can be packaged. Think about how you want to work the time. With flexible hours, these can be anything from staggered hours to nine day fortnights. If you’re not sure, the Ten2Two website outlines these, so have a think about what it is you really want.

If you’re making a Shared Parental Leave request, who will take what time off, and when will you do it? Are you asking to have time off during a particularly busy period? An employee is entitled to submit three separate notices to book leave. For example, you could choose to come back to work to help cover a particularly busy time for the company before going on leave again afterwards.

Set it out in writing
Flexible working and Shared Parental Leave requests must be made in writing. Follow the guidelines, date it and format it. Set out what you want and when you want it to come into effect.

If seeking flexible working, add how you think this will affect the existing business and how, in your opinion, this might be dealt with. You can only make a request for flexible working once every 12 months, so it’s important to get it right. Remember to provide solutions and benefits rather than present your employer with problems.

Expect a meeting to discuss it
An employer will likely want to talk through your request, although not always. A flexible working process needs to be completed within three months of the request being initially made. You can bring a work colleague to the meeting if you wish. A Shared Parental Leave request needs to be made at least eight weeks before the leave is due to be taken.

What happens if they say no?
Your flexible working request will likely be met by one of three outcomes – either it will be accepted or your employer will suggest a compromise. In the case of rejection, your employer needs to set out clear reasons for doing so. You can appeal this and you should be offered a meeting if you feel the application wasn’t handled responsibly.

When it comes to Shared Parental Leave, leave must be taken in complete weeks and may be taken either in a continuous period, which an employer cannot refuse, or in a discontinuous period, which the employer can refuse.

Emma Clearly, Director at Ten2Two says, “It’s traditionally viewed as simpler to ask for flexible working once you’re already in a role – but that is beginning to change. Many employers are realising that flexible working is becoming accepted as a standard work practice, and a key retention tool. It’s also an important employee benefit for businesses seeking to attract new talent as the skills gap squeeze begins to bite.”

If you’d like to find a flexible career role, talk to Emma Cleary at Ten2Two Sussex today.

Contact Emma at emma@ten2two.org or call us on 07810 541599.
Ten2Two is a flexible and part-time recruitment agency providing professional staff for forward-thinking companies across Sussex and
the south of England.
Register at Ten2Two.org

 

Emotional resilience

By | Uncategorized
by Chloe Webster and Bridgit Brown
Pebbles Childcare

As practitioners, we know only too well how important supporting children’s personal, social and emotional development is, particularly in today’s society where children’s mental health (and mental health in general) is so prevalent. There are staggering statistics from the Mental Health Foundation that say at least one in 10 children (aged five to 16 years) experience some form of mental illness (including anxiety and depression) as a direct response of things they have experienced, yet as many as 70% of these children will not have received sufficient interventions within their early years. (www.mentalhealth.org.uk)

So what can we do as practitioners to reduce these staggering statistics and equip our children’s emotional arsenal adequately enough to deal with the trials and tribulations the modern world puts upon them as they grow up?

As settings, we should place the children’s emotional development, resilience and intelligence at the forefront of everything we do, because how can we expect children to learn literacy, maths and problem solving skills when they aren’t emotionally ready to learn? As practitioners we need to support the emotional well-being of the children we care for. We must ensure that they are aware of their emotions, what they mean, how to manage them before developing their understanding of the emotional needs of others and how we can be mindful and supportive of each other in order to develop friendships and relationships.

Encouraging children to be emotionally intelligent and resilient doesn’t have to be difficult; the earlier we introduce children to becoming aware of and feeling their emotions, the more likely they will be to grow into emotionally balanced and intelligent young people.

The behaviours children display are an outwards response of the emotions they are feeling and trying to process, and it is our job to not only support them with processing these emotions but also to allow them to truly ‘feel’ their emotions before understanding why they are feeling them and how to deal with them and process them adequately. Children need the opportunities to experience a wide range of emotions in order to develop the appropriate skills to recognise, identify and manage each emotion; if we try to ‘protect’ children from ‘negative’ feelings (anger, sadness, fear) then how will they ever possess the emotional tools to process these emotions constructively.

For children, understanding and ‘owning’ their emotions is supported by their developing language and their understanding of the words and phrases we, as practitioners, use in relation to their emotions.

The words we use to identify, recognise, discuss and process emotions and behaviours have a significant impact on how children will react, respond and understand the varying emotions they feel. For example; instead of saying “Don’t be scared” when a child is feeling fearful, we could ask them “What are you scared of?”, “Why are you feeling scared?”, “What scares you about this?” This way, the child begins to mentally process the emotion and feelings they are experiencing, and dissect it to begin to understand ‘why’ they feel this type of emotion and how to overcome it with the support of a familiar adult. Similarly, simply telling a child “Stop crying”, “You don’t need to cry”, doesn’t support their emotional intelligence and enable them to investigate why they are crying or what it is that is causing them to feel upset.

It is our job as childcare providers to support the children in our care in understanding and dealing with their emotions, in addition to supporting them in understanding and being empathic towards the feelings and emotions of other children in the setting too.

As adults, we know that emotionally we all have different triggers, different ways of dealing with the emotions we experience; children are exactly the same and will all process and react a range of emotions in varying levels of behaviour, it is our duty as their key people to determine, understand and support each child’s individual emotional range, find tools to support them in processing and understanding each emotion, before encouraging them to identify and support the emotions of their peers.

In order to meet children’s emotional needs, they will need a number of things. Firstly, an emotionally rich environment supported by emotionally intelligent adults, in addition to resources that provide children with the opportunity to explore different emotions of different people, opportunities to practice and identify various emotions as well as the opportunity to practice how to support and process the emotions of others.

Providing children with various resources to support them in exploring these things through their play and in their own time, is fundamental to cementing their learning and understanding of emotions.

We need to provide children with a wide variety of stories and books that discuss and explore different real-life scenarios that can unleash different emotions (parental separation, moving house, the transition to school or to a new setting, a new baby, to name but a few) and explore how these are addressed and managed through stories as well as a vast array of imaginative play experiences to practice and develop the skills needed to identify and support the emotions of others.

Where developmentally appropriate, introducing simple mindfulness activities and techniques to provide the children with the time and space to think about, feel and process their feelings in a constructive and calm way is conducive to the resilience of the children’s emotional well-being as well as their emotional intelligence.

Yoga is a wonderful activity for focusing on movements that enable children to breathe, take control of their body and mind and focus on each movement and breath they are taking which instils a feeling of calm amongst the children.
For our older children, making their own ‘worry jars’ is a great activity and resource to have within your setting; a small jar that the children can create freely with, combining coloured water and glitter/sequins/buttons. The message behind these jars is that when the child feels angry/sad/anxious they can physically express these feelings by shaking the jar vigorously and calm themselves by focusing on watching the glitter/sequins/buttons settle; therefore allowing the child time to mindfully focus on their feelings and the process of watching the materials settle provides the child’s feelings to settle and calm too. These jars not only support the child in managing their emotions productively but also provide the child with ownership of their own emotions and behaviour management.

We all have a role to play as professionals and parents to ensure that we know how to adequately support the mental health of our young children in order to support them in growing into emotionally balanced young adults.

Maternity leave – how is it spent?

By | Education, Finance, Uncategorized, Work employment

Research has revealed the top things that pregnant women plan to do during their maternity leave, with 15% stating that they plan to start their own business and become a ‘mumpreneur’. According to the poll, a third of new mums go back to work earlier than they are required to, with the majority citing ‘financial reasons’ behind their decision to return early.
The days of maternity leave being used to rest and relax, have tea breaks and bond with other new mums are long gone, according to new research that has found British women have far more ambitious plans to keep busy during their leave. Taking up a new hobbies, setting up businesses and learning a new language are among the top things that expectant mums plan to do while away from work.

The team at www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into the financial situations that Britons find themselves in. 2,319
British women aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they had given birth in the past five years, were quizzed about their maternity leave and how they spent their time.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘How did you plan to spend your maternity leave?’ to which the most common responses were ‘taking up a new hobby’ (18%), ‘setting up a business’ (15%), ‘learning a new language’ (12%) and ‘travelling’ (9%). All respondents were then asked if they had spent their leave doing what they had planned to do, with the results revealing that half of those who wanted to set up a business did indeed become ‘mumpreneurs’ (50%) and 41% of those who wanted to learn a new language realised their dreams, though just 11% of pregnant women who planned to travel ended up venturing abroad.

All respondents were then asked ‘Did you return to work before your full maternity entitlement was up?’ to which 55% of respondents stated that they used their full entitlement, whilst the remaining respondents either made the decision to return to work early (33%) or chose not to return to work at all (11%).

Those who returned to work early, without using their full maternity entitlement, were asked to share the reasons why they had done so. When provided with a list of possible reasons and told to select all
that applied, the top five responses were as follows:

1. Financial reasons – 81%
2. Needed more adult company in the day – 70%
3. Worried about long-term job security – 52%
4. My child was in day-care, and it gave me something to do – 46%
5. I felt the company needed me back – 39%

All respondents who had returned to work were then asked ‘Did your return to work go as you had planned?’ to which 74% admitted that it hadn’t. When asked to elaborate, 44% of those who planned to return to work full-time ended up returning part-time, compared to 13% who planned to return to work
part-time and ended up working full-time.

George Charles, spokesperson for www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, made the following comments: “It’s fantastic to see that so many women are using their maternity leave to do something positive. Obviously they’re already doing something incredible, by raising a child, but it’s important that they take the time to do something for themselves at the same time. Taking up a hobby, meeting new people and studying something new, these are great ways to pass the time, keep occupied and also get your child engaging with others too. They’ll also leave you in a better position when it comes to returning to the working world – assuming that’s something you wish to do.”

Protecting your child’s education

By | Education, Finance, Uncategorized

An insurance guide for parents of children at independent schools

by Clare Cave
Director at SFS Group

Choosing the right school for your child is a huge decision – taking many hours of careful thought and research. You want to make sure you consider every option and look at every possible angle to find the perfect choice. After all, this is something that will affect the rest of their lives.

Once you’ve secured that all important place, the next step is to secure your finances. Many parents are aware that there are products that can help spread the cost across a period of time, to help with budgeting and make fees more affordable. These payment plans can be extremely helpful and can be the difference between deciding to opt for an independent education or not.

However, what many parents aren’t aware of is that there are a number of insurance products available that can secure those payments, no matter what the future may hold.

Here are details of those policies, providing the full picture about what protection
is available:

School Fees Insurance
After the mortgage, school fees are probably the next largest financial commitment for families with children at independent schools. Many will have taken steps to protect their homes but may never have known they could do the same with their children’s fees. If one parent dies or suffers a serious illness, it could be extremely difficult to find the money required to keep your child at the school you’ve chosen.

What does it cover?
This product covers your school fees until your child turns 18 should you become terminally ill or die. Benefit payments are made directly to the school, therefore avoiding any tax or probate issues that may be encountered through traditional life insurance policies. No medical underwriting is required to take out the insurance. Critical illness cover can be added to the policy too, at an additional cost. A choice of different levels of cover are available.

School Fees Refund Insurance
Most of the time, when children are ill they’ll only be off school for a day or two. However, if they contract something more serious, such as glandular fever, they could be off school for two or three weeks, or even longer. Similarly, if they suffer a broken arm or leg, they may need to spend time at home to recuperate. All this time, parents will be required to continue to pay fees despite their children not being in school.

What does this cover?
This product provides a refund of your school fees if your child misses school due to accident or illness. Each policy will have a defined deferred period – a time the child needs to be off school before a claim can be made. Typically, this length of time will be between five and 10 days. There is a choice of different levels of cover available. Some policies will also cover weekends for children who are at boarding school.

Pupils’ Personal Possessions Insurance
Technology has become an everyday part of education. Pupils are often required to complete their work on a computer and may need to take it into school to use in their lessons. Mobile phones have become almost universal among children at senior schools and over a third of those aged eight to 11 own one. These are expensive items that can be difficult to live without and can be easily damaged in a hectic day at school.

What does this cover?
There are a range of different policies available for pupils’ possessions, offering different levels of cover. The most useful attributes to look out for are a low excess and cover for accidental damage. While it is possible to include your children’s possessions on your household contents insurance, having a separate policy will often work out more cost effective and will protect any no-claims bonus that you may have.

Income Protection Insurance
Cover is also available to protect against long-term health conditions that aren’t classed as a critical, serious or terminal illness. The most common cause for a prolonged sickness absence for employees in the UK is mental illness, which could be covered by
this protection.

What does this cover?
This provides insurance cover to pay for school fees should you become ill or have an accident and be unable to work for a set number of weeks. A range of different cover levels are available, and payments are made directly to the school in monthly instalments. Payments will continue until you return to work, your child reaches 18 or for five years, whichever happens first.

Securing the best possible education for your child is one of the best gifts you can ever give. It opens up so many possibilities for their future.
It makes sense to spend just a little time on your financial planning to ensure you have the right protections in place, so they can follow whatever path they choose.

Clare Cave is Director at SFS Group who has, for over 25 years, been providing parents of children at independent schools with innovative insurance products that give peace of mind for whatever the future may hold.

www.sfs-group.co.uk

Sport for all

By | Uncategorized
by Antonia Beary
Headmistress, Mayfield School

Teachers from my own schooldays might be rather sceptical at my writing an article on the benefits of sport, and rightly so, as any recollections of my youthful endeavours to avoid cross country or the 1500 metres (I think I was the only person in my year not to do it) would elicit, at best, amusement. However, even the most recalcitrant child can surprise themselves and others.

Sport teaches us all, not just our children, skills and helps discover abilities which can prove invaluable as life skills. Playing as a team requires not only working together, but thinking about other people and understanding their strengths and weaknesses.

Good team players will be able to see themselves contributing to something bigger, as they have to look beyond their own individual goals to the shared, common good. Representing our school, or county or country, requires stepping up to the mark and working towards an altruistic goal, espousing what may seem old-fashioned values, which are increasingly at odds with those of the self-centred society in which we seem to live. Most of us can’t avoid having to work with others, so acquiring the tools to do it well, and sooner rather than later, is key. For teenagers to appreciate both that it is not just ‘all about them’ but also that they have something valuable to contribute, promotes a balanced sense of self-esteem.

Practice, as we know, makes perfect. In a world where there is a disproportionate focus on individuals plucked out of obscurity allegedly to fame and fortune, sport offers an excellent lesson: while natural ability may be an advantage, it is nothing without consistent effort and application – rain or shine. With our increasing dependence on mobile phones allowing the best laid plans to be changed at the last minute, understanding the concept of commitment to a match or practice is important. It doesn’t matter if you have a better offer – you have a responsibility to your team. In making sacrifices, so character is built. Captaining a team can lead on to more significant leadership roles and the responsibility being a role model entails.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about resilience: learning how to win and, more importantly, how to lose graciously are skills which should not be underrated. At a time when, increasingly, pressure is put on our children with an expectation they will always get things right, sport provides an arena where it is almost impossible not to make mistakes. Playing sport offers opportunities to learn how to cope when,

inevitably, things do not go to plan. Learning to roll with the punches – literal and metaphorical – is a vital skill. At the same time, having to conform to a set of rules is no bad thing for a child who is used to always getting what he – or she – wants. Fair play and respect for the umpire’s decision needs to be learnt and can’t necessarily be assumed: while cheats may well prosper in the world we live in, it doesn’t mean we should encourage or condone flouting of the rules. Sport should help instil in our young people the fundamental value of integrity.

There’s a reason why the Romans believed ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’. Computer games may offer a certain type of stimulation but there is nothing to beat fresh air and physical activity for real well-being. There is no escaping the fact that an increase in the availability of junk foods or, at the very least, overly processed foods, and less curriculum time devoted to sport is contributing to obesity in today’s young people. Not only does eating healthily help you perform better, but regular physical activity also means that you can get away with spoiling yourself every now and then. Moving to work in a boys’ school, I learnt the value of rugby: one harsh winter I taught classes unable to play sport due to frozen pitches. The windows regularly steamed up with pent-up energy, bordering on aggression. Expending energy on the playing field whether you are a boy or a girl, in my experience, means that you can focus effectively on your academic study. Furthermore, the skills of concentration, focus and determination are easily transferrable and success in a match can boost confidence and instil a self-belief which in turn allows you to approach a challenging maths problem or a philosophical conundrum with more conviction.

There is a reason why we ‘play’ sport – sport has to be about having fun. For some, that pleasure will come from being intensely competitive, for others simply in being part of something bigger than themselves and spending time with their friends, not so much in the pursuit of excellence, but to cement relationships and support networks, to let
off steam and relax after a stressful day.

And the joy of sport is that there is something for everyone. For the record: the girl who, aged 13, tried to arrange her music lessons in PE, in a few short years found herself representing Cambridge University in the Boat Race. Who says miracles don’t happen?

Antonia Beary is Headmistress of Mayfield School, a leading Catholic independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18 located in Sussex. Described by the Independent Schools Inspectorate as ‘outstanding’ and by Country Life as
“one of the finest schools in the land”,
a Mayfield education combines academic excellence, breadth of opportunity and exceptional pastoral care in a nurturing environment, which welcomes all.
For more information visit the school website at www.mayfieldgirls.org

YOGA for bedtime

By | Uncategorized
by Charlie Nash
YogaFrogs

Yoga offers so many wonderful benefits for the mind, body and soul which can help so many aspects of our daily lives. Sleep is a key part of our health and well-being, as it allows our body to rest and restore. Incorporating a short bedtime yoga sequence into your child’s bedtime routine can calm the mind and relieve tension in the body which can help to induce better sleep.

Gently guide your child through this easy to follow mini routine, you don’t even need a yoga mat and can easily practice this on the bed before settling down for sleep.

Make sure the room is cool to encourage a restorative sleep, turn off the TV, computers and phones, dim the lights or use a bedside lamp to give the room a soft light and as a visual cue to the brain to start winding down, ready for sleep.

1. Easy pose

To begin, sit in easy pose, to promote inner calm. Imagine a balloon gently pulling your head up to sit a little taller, take in three deep breaths, counting to three on each breath in and three on each breath out. For the first few times you practice this with your child count aloud; that way they can then fully concentrate on their breathing. Focusing on the breath will help the mind begin to unwind and relax.

2. Cat/cow pose

Start on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Cow – inhale and gently drop the belly towards the floor, lift the head and tailbone up towards the ceiling.

Cat – reverse the movement, exhaling deeply and round the spine, tucking the chin in towards the chest. If your child feels happy to do so, ask them to close their eyes as they do this.

3. Butterfly pose

Sit with your feet and heels touching. You can introduce some very gentle movement with the breath by lifting the knees up and down. You can, if you feel it is right for your child, encourage them to close their eyes and imagine they are a beautiful butterfly fluttering round their favourite park or place in nature.

4. Lazy forward bend

This is extremely self-soothing and helps to promote digestion, relieves stress and helps to calm the mind.

Feet should be together and knees bent. The idea isn’t to reach the toes but just to allow the arms to rest where they are comfortable. It’s also nice particularly for bedtime to place some pillows on top of the legs and allow the head to nuzzle into the pillows. Let go of counting the breath and allow your child to fully relax.

They can imagine they are on a boat traveling down a lazy river.

5. Knees to chest

This is another self-soothing posture. It increases circulation to the head and releases tension in the neck and back. Allow for the knees to come to the chest and clasp arms around the shin area of the leg. Gently rock side to side which gives a gentle bedtime massage to the spine.

 

6. Shavasana

Our resting pose, lay in a comfortable position with a favourite toy to cuddle and begin to relax the whole body. Guide your child through
relaxation by naming each body part, for example “Relax your feet, relax your legs” and so on. You could play some sounds from nature, soothing music or use this time as an opportunity to read a short bedtime story.

If your child is still a little restless you can try making a simple lavender and chamomile pillow sack, two tablespoons of dried lavender and one tablespoon of dried chamomile in a little fabric sack tucked under the pillow will provide a soothing scent to send them off to dreamland.

Sweet dreams.

YogaFrogs – bringing weekly yoga, mindfulness, meditation and creativity to children, teens and families across East and West Sussex, www.yogafrogs.co.uk

Wellies – a short history or a tall tale?

By | Uncategorized
by Kim Jackson M.S.S.F.
Klodhoppers (Hove and Haywards Heath)

I am writing this in the middle of the heatwave and it’s hard to imagine, that when the temperature is touching thirty degrees on the thermometer, it will ever rain again! But we are British and we know our British weather. It will rain for days and days in the autumn and winter, and probably most of next spring too!

Most of us will be forced to dig out our wellies for that walk to work or for taking the dog to the park, or for walking the children to school. Most of us will also realise that our children’s wellies have been either chewed by the dog, are split and leaking due to being stored in extreme temperatures in the shed, or are at least two sizes too small for anyone in the family to wear. This causes mass panic when you realise you’re going off camping at the weekend and are likely to need something waterproof on your children’s feet.

It has to be said that due to the variable British climate most children tend to need a pair of Wellington boots all year round. Plus they are often a big favourite with most toddlers who seem to love to wear their wellies whatever the weather.

But what a funny name – ‘wellie’ – where does it come from? How did one of our favourite items of footwear get its name?

It was all down to Arthur Wellesley the first Duke of Wellington. He was the victor at the Battle of Waterloo and a bit of a fashion icon in his day.

Military uniforms, fame and fashion have always been closely linked. Regimental dress uniforms were designed to stand out and impress young men so that they would join up, with the added bonus of attracting the young ladies who admired them in their regalia.

When the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (1792-1815) brought most of Europe into battle, it is hardly surprising that they introduced a lot of military fashion trends into civilian life.

In the 1790s officers in the British Army wore boots called ‘Hessians’, which were named after the German mercenaries who fought alongside the British in the American War of Independence (1775-83). Hessians were made of soft, highly polished calfskin. They were knee high with a curved top, similar to a riding boot, but with a ‘V’ shape, decorated with a tassel, cut into the front.

From the 1790s onwards, ordinary soldiers situated in hot climates began to wear lightweight linen trousers, instead of their normal woollen breeches, as they were cooler and more comfortable. Back home the fashion for wearing these tight-fitting trousers became popular in the 1800s. They were most notably associated with the famous style icon of that day, Beau Brummell.

The problem with the Hessians was the tassel on the front – traditionally designed to be worn with breeches, but now too awkward to fit into the tighter, more fashionable trousers.

At some stage during the early 1800s Arthur Wellesley, then Viscount Wellington, asked his shoemaker, Mr George Hoby of St James’s Street, London, to make a boot which was easier to wear with the new style of trousers. Hoby removed the tassel and cut the boots slightly lower to make them more comfortable for riding.

George Hoby was very proud of his achievement and is reported to have said on the news of the French defeat at Vittoria, “If Lord Wellington had any other bootmaker than myself, he never would have had his great and constant successes; for my boots and prayers bring his lordship out of all his difficulties.”

Even before his great victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Wellington was already on his way to becoming a fashion icon. By 1813, and the Battle of Vittoria, Wellington’s fame led others to start wearing this new style of long boot. The boots duly became known as ‘Wellingtons’.

These boots were popular with the troops because they were hard wearing for battle yet comfortable for evening wear. The boot leather was treated with wax to make them softer and more waterproof.

Wellington became a well-known figure in politics after Waterloo, becoming Prime Minister in 1828. Political cartoonists used the Duke’s boots and his prominent nose to represent him. By 1830 he was being depicted simply as a Wellington boot with a head (with a rather large nose).

Wellingtons remained fashionable until the Duke’s death in 1853, but had declined in popularity by 1860 when the ankle boot finally superseded them. Nonetheless they continued to be worn by senior officers in the British Army, doing service in Crimea and the First World War.

Meanwhile in 1856, the Edinburgh-based North British Rubber Company had started manufacturing Britain’s first rubber or ‘gum’ boots. With the name of the duke still retaining a patriotic pull on consumers, these new boots were soon also renamed Wellingtons in Britain.

Their popularity did not become widespread until the First World War, when in 1916 the company was commissioned to produce millions of pairs as standard winter kit for ordinary soldiers, to prevent ‘trench foot’, a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure to damp.

At the end of the war, soldiers brought these boots home and used them in their daily lives for very practical tasks such as farming, gardening and general wet weather wear. (A century later, music festivals and fashion catwalks are still benefiting from this wartime legacy.)

The North Rubber Company continued to prosper introducing the Green Hunter and Royal Hunter Wellingtons in 1955. The company changed its name to Uniroyal Limited in 1966. More changes took place until eventually four decades later, the Wellington boot production section became Hunter Boot Limited. Hunter wellies have transformed from being a solely practical item to now a very popular fashion brand.

In the 19th century Charles Goodyear invented a vulcanisation process for rubber which some American boot makers used to start making rubber boots.

Hiram Hutchinson saw the potential and shod agricultural workers in France and he bought the patent from Goodyear in 1852. He started a rubber boot company in Montargis called ‘La Compagnie du Caoutchouc Souple’ (The Flexible Rubber Company). He patented a brand of Wellington boots he called ‘A L’Aigle’ or Homage to the Eagle in 1853. The new waterproof boots were quick to become established and sold well within the large rural population. By 1857 the company were hand making 14,000 pairs of boots per day. Now called Aigle, these wellies have become synonymous with quality and with 95% of the Aigle collection still being handcrafted in France.

A couple of words of ‘wellie advice’ for you:
Parents of rural-based children need to be aware that if their children wear their wellies most of the time (if they live on a farm, for example) then the boots will wear out quicker than usual, especially if the children are young and also have ride-on toys and bikes. Except for some of the more premium brands, most Wellington boot manufacturers will only guarantee children’s wellies for a three month period. However, excessive wear and tear can also ‘void’ this guarantee period.

Also, if young children are in the correct size wellies then – generally speaking – they will have grown out of them within three months anyway.

Parents ask us “Is it alright for children to wear wellies all winter?” The simple answer is ‘no’! It is not good for their foot health. Wearing an unstructured item of footwear such as wellie boots all winter allows the foot to spread and become flaccid, therefore it will prove difficult to get some children back into a structured shoe later on. The child will have become used to the loose, floppy feel of a wellie, and will then complain that any shoe ‘feels tight’ even when it is the correct fit. It is also worth remembering that a child’s gait is slightly different when walking in wellies rather than shoes. They tend to drag their feet along in wellies and grip with their toes, as opposed to using a proper heel to toe motion when walking in a fitted shoe.

If you would like advice on wellies, waterproof boots and other suitable footwear for the autumn/winter season, then please come in and ask.
At Klodhoppers we strive to give you our best and honest advice – we won’t tell you a tall tale!

Kim Jackson M.S.S.F.
(Member of the Society of Shoe Fitters)
Klodhoppers (Hove & Haywards Heath)

Female entrepreneurs – still labelled ‘overbearing’

By | Uncategorized

More than half of female entrepreneurs in London have been branded with stereotypical gender labels when running their business, research from NatWest suggests.

Respondents in the capital were the most likely of any region to have been called self-assured, overbearing, feisty, vocal, career oriented, a ‘career woman’, driven and ambitious in a professional environment. Women in the South are more likely than those in any other region to be referred to as a ‘working mum’ or ‘ruthless’. The study suggested that almost half (48%) of female entrepreneurs in the South of England have been labelled with stereotypical gender terms when setting up their own business.

Author, freelance writer and blogger Sarah Turner, who wrote the Sunday Times number one bestseller The Unmumsy Mum and earlier this year published The Unmumsy Mum Diary, said: “As a mum-of-two who works full-time I was sadly not surprised that almost half of the women surveyed had been branded with gender stereotypes because this is something I have experienced. Comments I have had about the work/motherhood juggle range from, “Crikey, who looks after your kids then?” to, “Wow, you’re brave trying to make it work as a ‘mum boss”.

“Interestingly, my husband has never encountered such comments, nor has he ever been referred to as a ‘dad boss’.”

The research also explored how these comments affected female entrepreneurs across the UK. Encouragingly, over a third (35%) of those questioned ignored any negative comments or didn’t care about them.

However, 26% of respondents in the South said they were made more self-conscious as a result of their experience and 22% were upset or angry.

Sarah, who lives in Devon with her husband and their two sons, said: “There is a deep-rooted inequality of attitudes that needs to change, and I am heartened that many of the women who face a challenging attitude are fiercely determined not to let it hold them back.”

Half of female entrepreneurs in the North of England have never been branded with stereotypical gender labels when running their business. Women here were also the least likely to have experienced someone commenting on or alluding to their work attire in a negative way in a professional environment.

More than half (53%) of female entrepreneurs in Wales have been subject to stereotypical gender labels, rising to 55% for entrepreneurs past the start-up stage. But Welsh respondents were the most determined and motivated in the face of adversity of any region in Britain.

Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise for Business Banking at NatWest, said: “While it is clear that a high percentage of women are still experiencing gender specific challenges it is fantastic to see more female entrepreneurs rising above any negative stereotyping and being more determined than ever to succeed regardless. Therefore it is vital to the UK economy that we do all we can to encourage more women to be confident in their skills, champion their strength and to start new businesses.”

To provide this support, NatWest has more than 400 Women in Business specialists throughout the UK. These specialists are accredited by the Chartered Banker in conjunction with Everywoman, an organisation that provides resources and services to support women who are starting or growing their businesses.

Swimming with babies

By | Education, Safety, Sport, swimming, Uncategorized
by Fiona Edwards
Little Dippers

Baby swimming has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years and with good reason. As one of the first activities you can do with your new baby it not only gives you special one on one time with your baby, but also imparts your baby with a skill for life.

But taking that first step into the pool with your baby definitely comes with its fair share of questions and nerves. What if they get cold? What if they cry? What about their ears? Rest assured your babies are so much more adaptable than you realise and swimming is a completely natural progression for them having spent nine months in the fluid environment of the womb.
What’s more, babies are born with a natural dive reflex action which means they are already fully equipped to go underwater. It is truly amazing to see your baby dive underwater for the first time and come up again completely unfazed!

Safety
One of the first considerations for going baby swimming must be safety. With drowning still the third most common cause of accidental death in children, learning to swim must surely be a priority for all parents. Teaching your baby key water safety techniques and confidence in the water will give them skills that, if they should ever fall into a pool, lake, pond or even the bath, will mean that they won’t panic and can utilise the skills that they have learnt – which could potentially save their life.

Bonding
Baby swimming is a great way to spend special one on one time with your little one away from the intrusions of everyday life. This is a time when you can truly focus on just you and your baby. Plus the added benefits of skin on skin contact can help to regulate baby’s heart rate and breathing as well as making them feel secure. For mums, it can release hormones to help with breastfeeding and build the nurturing instincts. It’s also a great way for dads to get involved and enjoy special bonding time.

Physical and physiological benefits
The buoyancy of the water enables babies to use muscles they could never use on land and they love the sense of freedom to kick freely. Despite looking gentle, swimming is great exercise for your baby, helping to strengthen their heart, lungs and respiratory capacity which in turn aids the development of the brain.

In fact, the exercises taught in baby swim classes, kicking, reaching, learning and responding to commands, provide the perfect stimulation for your baby’s brain and helps to develop their cognitive skills and hand/eye co-ordination. It has also been proven that the combination of activities in the pool strengthens nerve pathways between the two sides of the brain, helping to store and retrieve information more effectively. All good for future learning!

What’s more, regular swimming can improve your child’s eating and sleeping patterns – surely a bonus for everyone!

Fun for all the family Swimming is great exercise for all the family and is something you can enjoy together even when babies are very little.

Parents’ confidence
Don’t worry if you are not confident in the water yourself, most baby swim classes take place in shallow pools and don’t require you to do much more than hold your baby. However nervous you may be feeling make sure you try to remain calm and keep a big smile on your face as your baby will pick up any apprehension that you may feel. It’s amazing watching parents’ confidence grow as they watch their babies thrive in the water.

Meet new friends
Besides learning key survival skills swimming is fun! Singing songs, splashing around, blowing bubbles and playing games, it’s an easy way for parents to get involved and meet new friends along the way. It’s best to go somewhere with small groups so that everyone can get to know each other and your baby will respond to other babies in the group and enjoy the clapping and splashing.

A few things to think about before you go swimming
You can start swimming with your baby from birth although most parents tend to wait until their baby is around six to eight weeks. Contrary to popular belief, babies do not need to have had their immunisations before coming to a pool.

It is best to book a course of baby swimming classes before you take your baby to the pool on your own, so that you can learn how to hold your baby
and exercises that you can practise with them. Smaller classes with groups of around six or seven in private pools provide a calmer quieter environment for you and your baby. Try to find warm water pools; babies can’t regulate their temperature so look for classes that take place in pools ideally heated to around 32 -34O C.

Before choosing a class think about your baby’s feed and nap times. A tired or hungry baby won’t enjoy their class and give yourself plenty of time to get to your class and get changed. It’s amazing how much longer everything takes with a baby in tow and you don’t want to start your class flustered and stressed.
You can help prepare your baby for lessons by having fun in the bath splashing, grasping toys and singing songs.

With all these benefits surely it’s worth taking the plunge!

Little Dippers have been teaching babies to love the water for 25 years.
Classes in lovely warm water pools in the North Laine and Patcham in Brighton with free drop in sessions.
Free trial available to book.
For more details check our website www.littledippers.co.uk or call 01273 229 390

Marriage vs Cohabitation Understanding your legal rights

By | Education, family, Finance, Legal, Relationships, Uncategorized
by Deborah Bailey
Gowen & Stevens Solicitors

Marriage, or indeed a civil partnership, which is treated the same as marriage upon breakdown, is not for everyone. Even though there have been changes in the law allowing same sex partners to marry, a growing number of couples still regard it as old-fashioned and believe they have no requirement for ‘a piece of paper’ to confirm commitment to each other. Living together or ‘cohabiting’ remains the fastest growing family arrangement.

Often, it is only when facing the breakdown of a relationship that unmarried couples realise how that seemingly irrelevant piece of paper could have altered their situation. Furthermore, even if you remain blissfully together, there are still potential pitfalls for cohabiting families as time passes. Read on to find out how you can protect yourself and your children.

Even if you have lived together for a long time or have children together, the law will not protect you if you break up. Despite the media’s love of the term common-law wife, or indeed husband, this is not a recognised term in law. The fact that your relationship even existed, when it comes to the law, may be irrelevant. Often, the only issue to resolve in a breakdown of a cohabiting relationship will be what happens to the home. The fact that there may be children to re-home may not be a consideration and you could end up in a desperate situation.

Conversely, when looking at how to distribute a family’s assets on divorce, a spouse can call upon the matrimonial law to look at all the relevant circumstances of the relationship, often before but certainly during and after the marriage. The goal in these circumstances is to seek a result that is fair to both spouses with the welfare of the children being treated as a primary consideration. The future living arrangements of all involved will be a concern as will the financial position of each spouse following the divorce.

Whilst campaigners are lobbying for a change in the law to protect unmarried families, until this happens, people need to be aware and take steps wherever possible to protect themselves and their children. So what can you do?

Property
If you own property together and both names are on the property register, then you probably had a discussion with your conveyancing solicitor about how you would own the property so there is a chance that your ownership will already be clearly defined.

Matters become more complicated if the property is owned by only one of you. However, the non legal owner may still have an interest in the property dependant upon how finances were arranged during the relationship and what agreements you had. Seeking legal advice in this scenario is essential and can help determine your interest and how you can realise this.

If you are buying a property in which you intend to live together, speak to your solicitor about the ways in which you can own the property and how you can protect yourself.

Maintenance
If you are looking after the children, you can claim maintenance following a break-up from your former partner for your children. If this cannot be agreed, apply to the Child Maintenance Service.

Unlike divorce, unmarried former partners cannot claim maintenance for themselves from the other partner, even if they are the stay-at-home parent looking after the children.

Inheritance
As cohabiting partners, unlike married couples, there is no automatic right of inheritance if your partner dies without making a will. Whilst you and your children could make an application against your partner’s estate if they were maintaining you prior to their death, this could be a stressful experience at an already difficult time. Making a Will could avoid a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for your loved ones.

Partners should also think about taking out life assurance.

Consider also making Lasting Powers of Attorney. If you become ill and incapable of managing your own affairs a cohabiting partner has no legal right to make decisions on your behalf. This could cause difficulties with the wider family who may or may not know your wishes. Appointing your partner as your Attorney could avoid such difficulties.

Cohabitation Agreements
It’s not very romantic but thinking about your arrangements before you buy a property or move in together can save a lot of heartache if things go wrong. A cohabitation agreement is strongly recommended and a solicitor can help you consider all the issues that could arise and, provided it is properly drafted, could protect against costly court proceedings.

Ultimately, every situation is different but being aware that living together is very different from being married means that you can take steps to avoid problems later if things go wrong. Always seek advice from an experienced solicitor who specialises in this complex area of family law.

An established practice for over 120 years with offices in Cheam, Banstead and Sutton. Offering a highly personal service tailored to all aspects of your family and business life.
www.gowenandstevens.com