4 Myths About Boarding School


There are several motives behind why parents consider a boarding school in England for their children, as they offer a variety of benefits. Unfortunately, there are many misguided opinions when it comes to boarding school that tend to put people off, and parents have a tendency to worry that it’s not the best option for their children. Read on for some myths about boarding school to help alleviate your worries.

Myth One: Boarding School is a Parent Free Zone

Many people mistakenly think that children who join a boarding school have been abandoned by their parents, but this is absolutely not the case at all. Communication between parents and their children is very much encouraged at boarding school, including video chat, to ensure students stay connected to their parents and other family members.

In addition, parents are always more than welcome to attend school events such as football matches, sports day and school concerts, allowing them to see their child in action and guarantee their happiness.

Myth Two: Boarding School is One Big Sleepover 

It’s true that boarding school has many of the nice elements associated with sleepovers, like friendship and playing together, but there are still rules in place about what time the children must settle down for the night to ensure they’re getting enough sleep.

Myth Three: The Food at Boarding School is Terrible

At boarding school, children are provided with a healthy, balanced diet via an innovative menu. Without the right nutrition, students will not be able to reach their full potential in terms of their education and personal endeavours. In fact, boarding schools aim to create a “home-from-home” atmosphere for students, through both the food and the facilities. 

Myth Four: Boarding School is Only for “Posh People”

Yes – boarding school can be expensive for parents, but it is a myth that only “rich” or “posh” students can attend. In actual fact, there are plenty of payment options available to parents who cannot afford the full cost up front. Furthermore, there are a range of scholarships and bursaries available that cover part of or all of the fees, and there are many charities associated with boarding schools which support those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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5 Home Improvement Ideas for the New Year

5 Home Improvement Ideas for the New Year

It’s nearly 2021 and with a new year comes a fresh start. With that said, why not find some time to go through those home improvement project you’ve been putting off? Here are 5 ideas to get you started: 

Improve Energy Efficiency 

If you’re looking for ways to make your home more environmentally friendly, while simultaneously reducing your utility bills, start by swapping out your old halogen bulbs for LED alternatives and adding a smart thermostat. To ensure you keep the heat in over the winter months, seal any air leaks around your doors and windows and make sure you have adequate insulation in the loft.

Renovate Your Hallway 

Since your front porch or hallway is the first thing you (and your guests) see when you enter your home, you’ll want to make sure its inviting and orderly. Perhaps give the walls a fresh coat of paint, replace the flooring with wood/laminate so it’s easier to clean after someone has walked in with muddy or wet shoes, and look into some ways to keep your shoes and coats neat and tidy.

Update Your Kitchen 

Assess the condition of your appliances, including your fridge/freezer, oven, dishwasher, and microwave. Most modern appliances are not manufactured to last longer than 10 years so it might be time to replace a few things. If you want to go all out, get in touch with a bespoke fitted kitchen company and revamp your cabinets for extra storage. 

Add Some Artwork 

An easy way to brighten up your home is to add some colourful artwork on some of the blank walls. This doesn’t have to be expensive and is a great way to make your home feel like a brand-new space without really having to do too much. Draw out the colours in the art with matching soft furnishings like rugs, cushions and curtains.

Have a Clear-out 

If budgets are tight, one of the easiest ways to improve the look and feel of your home is to purge any unwanted/unused items that are taking up unnecessary space. You might be able to sell some of your items online or at a car boot sale to make some money, but the real benefit of having a clear-out is that it will make your home feel so much tidier and more spacious. 

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How Do My Child’s Lifestyle Choices Affect their Education?

 How Do My Child’s Lifestyle Choices Affect their Education?

The decisions your child makes in their personal lives will undoubtedly affect the way they are able to perform in school. For example, if they decide to stay up until 3am playing video games, they will struggle to concentrate in lessons the next day. A child needs around 8 hours of sleep each night in order to function well the following day. However, adequate sleep is not the only lifestyle factor that can influence a child’s ability to learn, as explored below by an independent school in Hampshire.

The types of food your child eats will also determine whether or not they can concentrate in lessons. Sugary snacks and fizzy drinks can lead to a short-term boost in energy, but unfortunately this is followed by a “crash”. So, if your child eats an unhealthy lunch, they will feel very sluggish in the afternoon, which will impact their ability to pay attention to what their teachers are saying. With that said, start your child’s day with a nutritious breakfast, like yoghurt or porridge topped with fruit. Cereals tend to packed with sugar, so they’re not necessarily the best option when it comes to breakfast on a school day. The same applies to a packed lunch; perhaps prepare foods like carrot sticks and houmous or apple and peanut butter, rather than crisps and chocolate. 

Dehydration also tends to lead to a similar sluggishness as sugary snacks, so it might be worth investing in a decent reusable water bottle that your child can take to school and fill up throughout the day. They should be drinking around 6-8 glasses of fluid per day, which is at least 1.5 litres. 

Exercise is also important when it comes to education. It helps children develop motor skills, improves physical health and also releases endorphins that reduce stress and boost mood. If you’re struggling to get your child to engage in physical activity, perhaps encourage them to join a sports or drama club after school. You should also suggest a walk in the park or some other kind of physical activity on the weekend, like rock climbing or ice skating. 

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How to Raise a Respectful Child

How to Raise a Respectful Child

Respect can be defined in more ways than one. It can stem from an admiration of someone who has many great achievements or possesses commendable qualities. For instance, you might respect a friend who is very hardworking. However, respect also refers to the consideration of another persons’ feelings, rules, rights and opinions. With that said, why wouldn’t we want to raise respectful children? I have teamed up with an independent prep school in London to offer you some advice on how to do so.

First and foremost, if you want to raise a respectful child, one that speaks politely to people and follows the rules, you will have to demonstrate respectful behaviour so that they can follow suit. For example, you might feel like yelling at the customer service representative on the phone, but if you do, your child will think this is a normal way to speak to people. Try to stay calm and remember your manners, especially when your kids are around.

If your child is badly behaved, try to identify the cause of the behaviour and teach them some alternative problem-solving methods. Perhaps they are struggling with their homework or have had an argument with their friends at school and their sadness or frustration is manifesting as tantrums and yelling. Rather than yelling at them, try and help them understand why they are behaving that way and offer some suggestions of what they can do instead. The trick is to resolve conflicts thoughtfully, rather than aggressively, as the latter will teach your child bad habits. 

Of course, you probably already remind your child to say please and thank you on a regular basis, but there are other ways you can teach them to respect other people. If you hear them speaking negatively about another person, for instance, talk to them calmly about how wrong it is to judge another person based on the way they look or what they believe in. Remind them that they should treat people the way they wish to be treated.

The concepts above merely scratch the surface when it comes to teaching your child to be respectful. If your child is a littler older, you could encourage them to do some charity work or get involved with the community so that they learn about other people’s hardships. This will help them to empathise with others, while reminding them how lucky they are. When it comes to respecting other cultures and religions, perhaps you could learn about some different religious holidays together. Disrespect often stems from ignorance, so avoid this by helping your child learn as much as possible about how other people live.

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Teaching Your Child to Resist Peer Pressure

Teaching Your Child to Resist Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is something that we all come across from time to time, even as adults. Sometimes, we’re the ones doing the pressuring, without even realising it. It’s important for parents to teach their children about peer pressure so that they understand how to spot it and therefore how to avoid it. They need to know that there’s nothing wrong with saying no. Here are some tips form an independent school in West Sussex.

Start by chatting to your child about what peer pressure actually is. You could even try and find some videos online to show them, so they can get an even better understanding. Ask them if they can think of any examples of when this might have happened to them or if they witnessed it happening to someone else and share some examples of your own. Your child will learn from the example that you set, so talk to them about times when you overcame peer pressure so they can follow your lead. 

Sometimes, it’s not that we are unable to spot peer pressure, it’s that we don’t have the courage to say no. Let your child know that if something makes them uncomfortable, they shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for themselves. Often, the consequences of going along with the crowd are far worse than just saying no in the first place. Help your child find the confidence to say no should they need to by boosting their self-esteem with praise, compliments, and encouragement. 

If you’re worried that your child might be friendly with some children at school who could be a bad influence on them, don’t let them know. By saying things like “that kid will get you into trouble” just sets them up for failure and will make them think you don’t have any faith in them. Instead, get in touch with your child’s teachers to voice your concerns. They will be able to keep an eye on your child and perhaps come up with a plan, like a new seating arrangement, to encourage your child to make new friends. 

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How to Raise an Optimistic Child


Some people are naturally more optimistic than others, and some people have good days and bad days. It’s perfectly normal for adults and children alike to doubt themselves from time to time, but its also important for parents to help their kids overcome these hesitant emotions so that they can tackle life’s obstacles with a smile on their faces. A private school near London have prepared the following advice for parents on how to raise an optimistic child. 

Help your child see the positive aspects of life as much as possible. Talk to them regularly about what they are grateful for and what they are looking forward to, so that they learn not to dwell on the bad stuff. Lead by example by sharing some of your own little wins each day, like a lovely colleague making you a cup of tea or a delicious meal you have planned for that evening. 

Give your child lots of encouragement as much as you can, but especially when they’re having down days. If they have an argument with a friend, let them know that it’s a normal part of life to have disagreements with people but they normally always work themselves out in the end. Perhaps share an example of when this happened to you. If they accidentally break something in the house, let them know that you are proud of them for owning up to it rather than telling them off for breaking it in the first place. The trick is to put a positive spin on things where possible.

The same applies if your child fails a test or gets a bad grade on their homework. Rather than punishing them for not performing well, praise them for how hard they tried and remind them that we all face setbacks sometimes, the trick is to learn from them for next time. This will help them develop a growth mindset, rather than giving up before they’ve even begun.

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How Does Moving Schools Affect Your Child?


Lots of children are faced with the challenge of a new school. Perhaps their parents have to relocate due to work commitments or separation. Regardless of the reason, moving schools can sometimes have a detrimental impact on the child and lots of additional support will be needed. I have teamed up with a prep school in Bristol to offer some advice for parents to help their children deal with this transition effectively.

When starting at a new school, there are so many things your child will have to get used to: a new building, new rules, new uniform, new classmates, new teachers. All this uncertainty will become normal eventually, but for the first few weeks or even months, it will take some time for your child to settle. They might feel anxious and on edge, so they will need lots of encouragement and a positive home life to help them get through it. Talk about the change using positive terminology, remind them how great it will be to make new friends and join new clubs. 

Help them build new friendships by arranging a playdate with other parents at the new school, if possible. This will allow your child to interact with their new peers in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable, rather than lost and confused. This will allow them to be more themselves and friendships should form more easily. It may also help to allow your child to keep in touch with their old friends. If you don’t live near anymore, perhaps you could arrange a video chat.

Be patient with your child when it comes to their education during this time, as it may take some time for them to adapt to the new teaching style and possibly different curriculum. Perhaps consider hiring a private tutor to help your child get up to speed with the rest of the class and generally just find the confidence they might have lost as a result of all of the changes. Keep in touch with their teachers in the early days for regular updates on their progress. 

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Aloo Keema (Lamb Mince & Potato) Recipe

aloo keema recipe

The Major Ingredient - The Lamb!

If you don’t remember the last time you cooked lamb, then I must remind you that you’re definitely missing one of the important ingredients you should include in your diet. There has been a shift in lifestyle, particularly in individuals under 35 who live in North Western European countries such as England, where they hardly seem to purchase or cook lamb nowadays.

Lamb Try it, Love it

The EU funded Lamb Try it, Love it campaign has enabled people to discover the unique flavours of lamb at their convenience. This Lamb Mince & Potato recipe is a popular South Asian protein-packed dish which is perfect for a midweek meal. The high quality lamb produced by European farmers follows sustainable practices and is a major contribution to local economies. Lamb is often used as an important ingredient in my kitchen, and I feel it's a really exciting ingredient to cook and test in different recipes.

aloo keema recipe

Variety of Cuts of Lamb

Being a versatile ingredient, lamb can be used in lots of different recipes and is available in various cuts. Incredible lamb dishes can be made using affordable lamb cuts like mince and steaks. However, don’t be afraid to try lamb cuts like chop, rump, neck, leg, shank, breast, loin rack, and shoulder. Many lamb dishes can easily be cooked in only 30 minutes and are packed with flavour.

Health Benefits of Lamb

High quality lamb produced by European farmers is naturally rich in protein and contains several natural vitamins and minerals’ (please refer to this blog post for the health benefits). If you haven't mixed lamb in your everyday diet, give it a go. Once you try it, you're definitely going to love it! For more information on lamb and the Lamb Try It, Love It campaign, click here.

aloo keema recipe

INGREDIENTS:

5 tbsp oil
2 medium sized, finely sliced onions
1 large, sliced tomato
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
500 grams lamb mince, cleaned & washed well
1 tsp turmeric powder
1½ tsp red chilli powder (levelled)
Salt, as required
4 whole cloves
6 whole black peppercorns
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
2 cardamom pods
2 slit green chillies
4-5 medium sized potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup water
Fresh coriander, julienne cut fresh ginger & chopped green chillies, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Turn on the stove and add the oil. 
Add sliced onions and sauté until they turn brown. 
Once done, add the sliced tomatoes and sauté well. 
The next step is to add ginger and garlic paste. 
Add lamb mince in the pot and cook until it turns from red to light brown. 
Once the colour of the meat changes, add turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, cloves, black peppercorns, coriander powder, cumin powder, cardamom pods and stir well. 
Add green chillies and potato cubes. 
Add 1 cup water. 
Cover the lid and leave to cook on low heat until lamb mince and potato cubes are fully cooked (this can take up to 15 minutes). 
Turn off the stove and garnish with fresh green coriander, julienne cut ginger and green chillies. 
Serve hot with roti (Indian flatbread/naan bread) or with boiled or either zeera rice.

aloo keema recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 individuals

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Lamb & Okra Curry Recipe - National Curry Week UK

Lamb & Okra Curry Recipe

Talking of the National Curry Week, it brings a lot of excitement for me because I am myself really fond of curry, and I cook it quite often at home. This year, the 22nd annual curry week falls between the 5th - 11th of October. 

The first National Curry Week, that was founded by Peter Grove took place in October 1998 and the idea was not just to appreciate the Indian restaurant industry but also to raise funds for charity. Curry is one of the favourite takeaways in the UK, and people's love for curry is growing stronger which is increasing the importance of the curry week each year. 

You can also get involved in the National Curry Week - by hosting a curry night at home, by eating out or by simply getting some from a takeaway. Below, I am sharing a Pakistani classic curry recipe called Lamb and Okra curry that can be enjoyed as a main course with some Chapati (Indian flatbread) or Naan bread. It's quite a simple recipe that can be cooked without a fuss. The combination of cubed lamb pieces and vegetable makes it a hearty meal for all!

Lamb & Okra Curry Recipe

The Major Ingredient - The Lamb! 

Lamb is a versatile ingredient, lamb is loved by people from all cultures and walks of life. The numerous recipes that can be created by using different cuts of lamb make it a perfect ingredient for everyday meals or for special occasions.

Lamb Try it, Love it

The idea behind the EU funded Lamb Try it, Love it campaign is to encourage people to identify the unique flavours of lamb and to add more of it to their diet. Lamb and okra curry can definitely be one of the best midweek meals for the entire family especially because the premium lamb produced by the European farms using sustainable practices ensures a protein-rich diet. There is absolutely nothing like fresh lamb, and we should appreciate the contribution the farmers make to the local economies with all the hard work they do on their farms. 

Variety of Cuts of Lamb

Being quite a versatile ingredient, lamb can be used in various recipes, with curry being one of the most popular. Although lamb has various cuts which are used for different recipes, it is not necessary to use the premium cuts all the time. Even the economical cuts do justice to the curries and boneless lamb pieces are perfect, especially if one's cooking for a family meal. There are several other curries which can be conveniently cooked within 30 minutes for an affordable dish that is full of flavour!

Health Benefits of Lamb

High quality lamb produced by the European farmers is naturally rich in proteins and also contains several natural vitamins and minerals’ please refer to this blog post for the health benefits. If you haven't mixed lamb in your everyday diet, give it a go. Once you try it, you're definitely going to love it! For more information on lamb and the lamb try it, love it campaign, click here.

Lamb & Okra Curry Recipe


INGREDIENTS FOR LAMB & OKRA CURRY:

5 tbsp oil

2 medium sized, finely sliced onions

2 large, sliced tomatoes

1 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp garlic paste

500 grams lamb cubes (leg), cleaned & washed well

1 tsp turmeric powder 

1 tsp red chilli powder

Salt, as required 

4 whole cloves

½ tsp coriander powder

2 cups of water

300 grams whole okra (fresh or frozen)

2 slit green chillies

A pinch of garam masala powder


Lamb & Okra Curry Recipe


INSTRUCTIONS:

Use either a pressure cooker or a normal pot, turn on the stove and add 5 tbsp oil. 

Add sliced onions and sauté them until they turn brown.  

Once done, add the sliced tomatoes and sauté well. 

The next step is to add ginger and garlic paste.

Add cubed lamb pieces in the pot and cook until they turn from red to light brown.

Once the colour of the meat changes, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, whole cloves, coriander powder and stir well.

Add 2  cups of water.

After the lamb is cooked, add okra in the pot.

Add 2 slit green chillies

Cover the lid and leave to cook on low heat until the okra is fully cooked (this should take 10-15 minutes, but do not close the lid tightly -  just place it on top of the cooker). 

Once both the lamb and okra are cooked, sprinkle a pinch of garam masala.

Turn off the stove and serve hot with roti, either Indian flatbread or naan bread).


Lamb & Okra Curry Recipe


QUICK COOKING TIP:

It is advised to fully cook a batch of lamb cubes (lamb cut: leg) and store it in small boxes in the freezer as this would greatly help in reducing the total cooking time. Perfect idea for quick midweek meals! 

The lamb will cook much quicker if a pressure cooker (15 minutes) is used instead of a normal pot (1-1.5 hours).


Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes in a pressure cooker 

& up to 2 hours in a normal pot

Serves: 4-6


Lamb & Okra Curry Recipe

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