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romantic dates on a budget

Romantic Dates for Lovers on a Budget

Dating can be difficult at the best of times, but when you are on a budget because you are struggling financially, it can make dating even more awkward and unromantic. The media teaches us that being rich, generous and glamourous makes us attractive and more likeable. So, dating when you are a student, in a low-paid job, unemployed or just generally struggling to make ends meet can be quite intimidating. However, there are many nice dates you can arrange to impress either your current partner or a new partner. Give these a try…

 

  1. Romantic Cinematic Dates

Film festivals and outdoor cinema events are frequently around in major cities and have a nice vibe. But even if there are not any film festival currently happening, or you live in a small town, you can select from a number of romantic films on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or on DVD / Blu-Ray. If you can’t decide, watch some of the trailers and see which two you like best. Then let your partner decide! You can often get special midweek cinema deals too, if you wanted to go out for your film date.

 

 

  1. Outdoor Adventures

On days with nice weather, you could take advantage of the assets that your local outdoors provides. Walking and hiking are popular activities that allow lots of time to talk. So, these are great activities if you are at the stage in the dating process where you want to get to know your partner better. If you have been on a few dates with him/her already and want to do something very romantic, take him/her camping overnight: watch the sunset together, spend time star-gazing with your partner and give him/her massages.

If you are fairly confident with your body and the temperature is very warm, swimming is a great option, particularly if you are far more confident about your body than the contents of your wallet! Lots of parks having boats you can hire at a reasonable cost.

In colder weather, you could go ice skating or visit a winter market to buy and drink warm soup or wine, huddled together to keep warm. There are lots of options, so be creative!

 

  1. Local Cultural Scene and Community Events

There are often local community events for free or with very cheap entry prices, such as local folk festivals, concerts, gigs, outdoor cinema nights, beer festivals, wine tasting events, book launches, poetry readings, open mic nights, theatre plays, roller derby and pride parades. Your local community centre, town hall, library or the web will undoubtedly have more information on what is going on over the next month or so. The good part about these events is you don’t have to travel very far. If you are in a long-distance relationship if your date is travelling to you, you can seem very clued up and excited about your local area and its culture.

 

  1. Intellectual Pursuits

It is not said enough, but most people are impressed by intelligence. If you think your date is going to fall into this category, take him/ her to some local art galleries, museums or botanical gardens. If your partner does seem intellectual, they are sure to be very impressed by your art or history knowledge and cultured attitude. One thing I have heard is that there is nothing more romantic than having a partner whisper something very intellectual in your ear in a museum, whilst putting their arms around you – first to point at an artefact, then to embrace you. This is perfect for that second or third date, when you want to show your partner a different side to yourself. Keep it genuine though, as there is no point taking him/her to a gallery if you hate art!

 

  1. ‘Foodie’ Indulgences

Going out for a coffee is a perfect cheap date, especially if it is a first date and you are not sure whether or not you will get on well. If you are a ‘foodie’, however, you could ask your dating partner if he/she would like to go on a picnic, or do a portable BBQ somewhere romantic. You can usually buy portable BBQs (both reusable or disposable) quite cheaply from your local supermarket or garden store. A nice walk along the beach combined with a tasty BBQ could be a great combination. Otherwise, a picnic at the beach or in your local park, woods, or botanical garden could also be a hit. You could carefully select the foods you bring on a theme, if you know your date is really into a particular cuisine or has a particular interest.

 

  1. Play games

If you are happy to have your date come to your place, then board games, chess, video games, or (if you are feeling more adventurous) poker can all make for a really nice evening. If you are too shy to show her your place, too lazy to tidy up, or are in the middle of renovating your home, there are many games that you can take to venues outside your home. Card games or easily portable board games would be fine to play in a pub or café. You could combine games with other dates I have suggested, such as hide and seek in a library, museum or park, or make up dramatic stories about what you think has happened to strangers you see to make them be in the location and situation they are in now!

 

  1. Treasure Hunts and Escape Rooms

With the rise of Geocaching, the app that makes treasure hunts easy (as you do not need to set them up yourself), treasure hunting has become very popular. You could download the app and tell your date to wear sensible shoes and that the date is mystery. Alternatively, if you want to go all-out, for an anniversary date or to really impress someone, you could create your own treasure hunt, with a prize at the end of the hunt – pick something your date really likes, or create a suggestive but witty ‘I owe you…..’ coupon!

Escape Rooms generally cost £15-20 to do, but they are an excellent one-off way to see how you and your partner work together. You might learn something interesting about each other!

 

Remember…

Whatever you choose, remember that dates are meant to be enjoyable and not break the bank. You don’t have to impress your partner with lots of cash – a thoughtfully planned date with romantic elements can often mean a lot more.

 

Your Words: Improve Your Child’s Wellbeing and Education!

I tutor English Language and am life coach. So I am very interested in language use. In particular, I am fascinated by how the language we use around children affects the way they perceive themselves and others. First, let’s explore a little some ideas I have come across recently. These are approaches that encourage your child to be resilient. Second, we’ll look at using gender-neutral language. Through this approach, you allow your children to believe in themselves, due to avoiding gender bias.

Growth Mindset Language

Growth Mindset is a theory from educational practice that states that children should not be praised for what they achieve, but how hard they work. Some people think this is impractical. They believe giving praise to children who never achieve high grades is creating an unrealistic view of the world for those children. However, my response to this view is twofold. Firstly, I believe strongly that the people making these claims do not understand growth mindset theory. Secondly, they also do not understand the potential damage done to the children’s confidence. If children get consistently low grades and also see others being praised instead of them, this increasingly makes them feel worse about themselves. 

Growth Mindset is saying “Well done for completing all the questions” when a child works slowly and doesn’t normally finish. It’s saying “Excellent! You remembered your folder today!” when a child manages to get organised, who doesn’t normally manage this. Growth Mindset literally makes kids want to keep doing the things you are praising them for. Then it starts to become automatic and you can start to set them new goals. “George, well done for remembering your folder today. Tomorrow I’d like to see you remember your homework!”

 

How Can Parents Use Growth Mindset Language?

Praise your kids who don’t normally do their chores, when they do them. Growth mindset is almost like the opposite of nagging. Children love praise. Nobody likes to be told off, but it is necessary sometimes. However, try to limit your nagging or telling off to a ratio of 1:5 – with 5 lots of praise for every nag! Use language like: “Well done for being kind to your sister and sharing with her” or “Great job that you wiped your feet before coming in today!” In particular, with education, you can praise children for completing their homework and taking an interest in their after-school clubs. 

A little goes a long way! They will start to believe in themselves!

 

How You Can be a Language Role Model

Don’t say to your kids “I wasn’t any good at maths, ask ____”. Studies have shown that kids can interpret this as “Well if Mum / Dad isn’t good at this, how will I be?” You can be a language role model by saying to your kids: “Okay, shall we research this online and see what we can find?” or “Do you find maths harder than other subjects? Do you want a tutor to support you and make you really confident?” This way, you are actively helping to find a solution without putting yourself down. You are not telling your child “I feel anxious about this and can’t help”.

 

Avoiding Gender Bias

Many studies have shown how little girls mostly get compliments that reflect their appearance. For example: “you’re so pretty” or “your dress is beautiful”. Boys, on the other hand, get complimented on how well they do things, rather than expressing their emotions or how they look. To improve your daughter’s chances of doing well, praise her for things that she accomplishes as well as how she looks! Likewise, boost your son’s confidence by commented on both his great achievements and decisions, but also how well he expressed his feelings. 

 

Moving Forward

This is just a whistle-stop tour of how language can help your child. If you are looking for coaching or a tutor to help boost your child’s confidence, then drop me a message to see if I can help! Email hello@bexharper.com for more information.

You can set up your business with some business coaching

How do I start my own business?

As a business coach and a business owner, I get a lot of people telling me they’d love to work for themselves. Many people ask me how it’s done. So I thought I’d share my story, insights and knowledge. Here are the questions you should ask yourself:

 

Why do you want to work for yourself?

Knowing exactly why you are choosing this path can be helpful. Try to think about what your top 5 core values are for your business practice. This is basically your vision for your business and will help you decide if you are doing this to try to be more in control of your life and schedule, or because you want a business venture, or because you like the idea of being able to wear PJs and work from home! Here is a list that is nowhere near exhaustive.

 

Should you ease into it or throw yourself in?

People often ask if they should quit their 9-5 job and begin being their own boss. It depends entirely on the industry in which your business is location and your financial needs. It also depends on whether or not your boss will let you go part-time whilst you set up your new venture. If you are someone who values financial security, then you might prefer to ease yourself in. If you are someone who just wants to work in your current job until you are ready to launch, then that might be seen as the middle group.

But if you are someone who thinks that, unless they take drastic action, they won’t actually do it, then possible throwing yourself in completely might be right for you. But only you can know what is right. If you are unsure, I suggest you get some business coaching before making such a big decision as quitting your 9-5 job!

 

 

What practical things do I need to know at the start?

Once you decide on an industry, your business location, and your core business values, you can get started! You need to register your business with HMRC so that you can start paying tax. It is advisable to get an accountant, particularly for the first year. This is because, for the £250-400 you spend on an accountant, they will be able to advise you correctly about what you can claim against your taxes (expenses and business set up fees) and what you cannot.

 

You should also make sure you set aside enough of your income to pay your tax and NI. HMRC require you to pay your tax bill in the January following the last tax year. (I.e. for the tax year April 2018- April 2019, you pay your tax bill before the end of January 2020.)

 

I would also advise you to have a website and social media pages to promote your business. You could also get references from former employers to show to your first clients before you have any testimonials or online reviews. Once you’ve been in business a while, as clients you are working with if they would mind writing a review.

 

Many people also advise you need a marketing plan and business plan. These are particularly important if you have investors, as they will want to see that you have ensured your business will grow year on year.

 

Let’s Go!

If you would like some business coaching to help you get started, please email hello@bexharper.com

 

 

person achieves their goal and celebrates on a mountain top!

How to determine your core values

Core Values?

Values drive our aims and goals in life. They help us to sort out what is important to us and where we need to direct our focus. Pick your top 5 values for living your life (and another 5 specifically for your business or career). See if, in your current situation, you are truly achieving the life you want with these values.

You can do this by writing down examples of how each of these 5 values appear in your life, at the moment. If they don’t feature in your life currently, write down one step you can take towards achieving this value in your life. The more values you are currently including in your life, the more true to yourself, your dreams and your moral compass you will be.

The aim is to get all 5! Our goals and values change, so it is useful to do this exercise every year.

Here is a list of key values:

Acceptance

Achievement

Acknowledgement

Adventure

Aesthetics

Appreciation

Authenticity

Balance

Beauty

Being active

Bliss

Caring

Career

Clarity

Comfort

Commitment

Compassion

Community

Co-operation

Confidence

Contentment

Courage

Creativity

Curiosity

Daring

Dedication

Detachment

Determination

Devotion

Diligence

Discipline

Discernment

Empathy

Empowerment

Energy

Enthusiasm

Excellence

Exciting

Fairness

Faith

Fame

Family

Financial independence

Flexibility

Forgiveness

Freedom

Friendship

Fun

Generosity

Gentleness

Goodwill

Grace

Gratitude

Growth

Happiness

Harmlessness

Harmony

Healing

Health

Honesty

Hope

Humility

Humour

Inclusiveness

Independence

Insight

Integrity

Influence

Intelligence

Intimacy

Introspection

Intellectual growth

Intuition

Joy

Justice

Kindness

Knowledge

Leadership

Learning

Love

Loyalty

Maturity

Money

Nurturing

Openness

Orderliness

Participation

Partnership

Passion

Patience

Peace

Performance

Prosperity

Purpose

Recognition

Relationships

Reliability

Respect

Responsibility

Reverence

Risk taking

Sacrifice

Serenity

Service

Sharing

Silence

Spontaneity

Strength

Status

Support

Success

Trust

Truth

Understanding

Unity

glasses onto of a laptop to indicate taking a break, resting, and self-care is happening rather than work

Why are we burning ourselves out?

I’ve previously written a number of posts about health and wellbeing. However, there is still one thing that baffles me: why are we burning ourselves out? Well, for one thing, our fast-paced modern society expects everything to happen immediately. We want that person to respond to our text or to get things done all at once. But, unfortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed: there are only 24 hours in a day!

Over the past 10 years, I’ve taken numerous steps to trying to improve my wellbeing and quality of life. I’ve given up drinking caffeine, set regular goals to be sure I am going in the right direction. I’ve decluttered my life significantly to only keep the things that make me happy. In fact, you could say, I’ve done it all. But I’ve noticed, through coaching others and my own journey one thing in particular. This is how, once high achievers finish one goal, they go onto the next one without taking the time to appreciate what they have accomplished. Subsequently, many high achievers find themselves burnt out, developing chronic illnesses or even life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease.

So what’s the solution? Well, there is no one or easy answer to this. But definitely getting to grips with the stressors in your life; carving out free-time to get a clearer work-life balance and celebrating your achievements can all help. A journal or workbook can help.

Here are some suggestions for journaling to helping you achieve this:
  1. What are you grateful for today?
  2. What self-care are you going to do for yourself tomorrow?
  3. What would you really like to be praised for today?
  4. How can you be forgiving today?
  5. Which tasks can you delegate, delete or delay?
  6. Will the world end if I take today or tomorrow off work?

These can be powerful questions for helping you to run a business, pass exams, manage a project, or just cope with a job that you hate. It’s important to enjoy your life. Life is short and no-one died saying they wish they worked more hours! So, if you are really struggling, reach out to friends, family, a therapist or life/business coach and see how you can get the support you need.

Like most therapists have their own therapists, most coaches have their own coaches. I could have coaching on anything, but I specific choose to focus on health and wellbeing in my sessions with my coach, because I feel that once you are feeling energetic, healthy and calm, the rest falls into place: be that your business, your love life, your parenting, your job. In order to do any of these well, you must be well. So, for me personally, health and wellbeing are a must.

Good luck, and if you do decide you would life to try a discovery coaching session, drop me an email: hello@bexharper.com – I look forward to hearing from you.

Why Your Business Needs A VA!

As a business coach, I have helped numerous people set up small businesses. At the start, you have the exciting thrill of setting up your project. But as time goes on, the workload can become overwhelming and it is harder to get a desirable work-life balance.

One solution can be hiring someone to do your admin, but employing staff can be extremely expensive. So, more and more businesses are contracting VAs to do their admin work for them, because, as VAs are self-employed, they pay for their own taxes, insurance, equipment and CPD themselves.

VAs can manage your invoicing, taxes, email inbox and blogs for you, but they can do so much more than that! Everything from arranging your business trip, to creating twitter posts, and from formatting documents, to scheduling meetings with clients, they are the jack of all admin trades and the master of many!

Passing on admin to a VA can give you a better work-life balance. Business coach Bex Harper explains how hiring a VA can help your work-life balance. Passing on admin to a VA can give you a better work-life balance. Image: photo of two women, relaxing on a wooden deck, instead of working.

Benefits of having a VA

The many benefits that outsourcing your work to an VA include:

  1. creating more time for yourself (to spend relaxing) and your business (to invest in increasing your turnover)!
  2. efficiency by outsourcing work to someone who is an expert in administration and organisational systems.
  3. giving yourself the mental space concentrate on tasks that attract the greatest revenue for your business.
  4. know that someone is on-hand and having someone to psychologically be present to support you. This can combat the feeling of being alone if you are a sole trader.
  5. having peace of mind that someone is dedicating themselves to the tasks you find time-consuming, boring, or just aren’t so good at!
  6. to decrease the amount of tasks you are juggling and having to remember: the more you have to remember, the more likely you are to be stressed!
  7. knowing that you can earn more money in the time you would be up to your neck in paperwork, as a VA can often do admin tasks far faster than us non-admin types!

When you outsource a task to someone, it is important to make sure you are comfortable handing the work over to someone and that you are happy to leave your business in the hands of someone who is trustworthy. It is also important to make sure you contract around what you want and what your expectations are for your VA. As, every business has different needs and if you are investing in getting a VA, it is important to make sure your VA is able to handle your needs.

My Recommendation

Lots of people ask me who handles my business admin and, for other small UK-based businesses, I’m very proud to recommend HMR VA Services. They provide a professional and friendly service, and have excellent contracting and clear communication. To find out how they can help, drop them a line today, on 07375119311, or email: hmr@hmrvaservices.com.

Kick-start Your 2019 with your Coaching Workbook!

Get Your Coaching Workbook Here!

 


YES, IT’S HERE – IN TIME FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Coaching workbook to change your life and achieve your goalsMy ‘year ahead’ planner and coaching workbook helps you to get really clear about what you want out of your life and what your goals are for 2019 and beyond. Asking important questions in a clear and fun way, this is the perfect way to treat yourself and practice self-care. This really has the power to change your life for 2019 and beyond for only £9.99!




Christmas and New Year Closure

Bex Harper Tutoring and Coaching wishes you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a fantastic 2019! We will be closed on the following dates:

22nd December 2018 to 2nd January 2019 (inclusive)

If you need to contact us via text or email, you shall receive a response on 3rd January.

31 Free or Cheap Activities You Can Do This Summer For Fun

There are often times in our lives when we have to watch the pennies and feel the pinch in our wallets. Here are 31 free or cheap activities you can do this summer for fun:

 

  1. Do a Youtube meditation, or take an online kick-boxing, dance or yoga class
  2. Read a book (or several) – borrow one from a friend or a library
  3. Take a walk somewhere new – we often fail to take the time to explore places in or near our own neighbourhoods
  4. Check out free museums or galleries in your local area – most places in the UK have free or very cheap galleries or museums.
  5. Host a potluck boardgames evening – get guests to each bring a dish and a boardgame.
  6. Hula hoop or play ball games in the park
  7. Have a movie night – find a friend who will let you use their Netflix account or pick up a DVD from a charity shop and get some popping corn for around £1 to make your own popcorn in a pan on the stove.
  8. Learn a language on Duolingo – impress your friends with your skills!
  9. Invite a friend round for a catch up – you just need some refreshments to keep them well-fed and watered.
  10. Listen to an audio book or some upbeat music whilst you clean your house – kill two birds with one stone!
  11. Do a Parkrun and meet new people.
  12. Make a movie or music video with friends – dress up and wear silly outfits and put on ridiculous accents.
  13. Host a potluck murder mystery night – you can get a free murder mystery set and get guests to each bring a dish.
  14. Take a bubble bath – listen to some music whilst you relax those cares away!
  15. Try Geocaching – go on a treasure hunt and explore the wonders of Geocaching
  16. Have a picnic or a BBQ – raid your cupboards and see what you can make and take with what you already have!
  17. Write a song – if you are musical and think you don’t mind the silliness.
  18. Go for a swim (local public pools can be relatively cheap)
  19. Draw or paint a picture (if you already have art equipment) or make home-made greetings cards.
  20. Play an online computer game.
  21. Play at an open mic night – if you have talent!
  22. Write letters to friends you haven’t see for a while (as you’d only have to pay for the postage stamps!)
  23. Make a coffee at home, put it in a travel cup and go sit somewhere beautiful to enjoy the outdoors whilst sipping your drink.
  24. Go for a bike ride – feel the rush of the breeze against your face.
  25. Go to a Pride parade – even if you aren’t LGBTQ, these are still fun.
  26. Write a bucket list of 50 things you want to experience in your lifetime or a “Be, Do, Have list”– then close your eyes, daydream about what it would be like, and then set to work working out which 3 you’d want to do first! Then make a plan of how you can do them!
  27. Go to a free open house day at your local gym or have a free ‘trial gym day’.
  28. Go to a a free talk, poetry reading, book launch or any other free literary events – Eventbrite often have some advertised.
  29. Go stargazing – take your blanket and lie down somewhere where you can easily look at the stars.
  30. Call or Skype that person you are always meaning to ring but never find the time – show them you care.
  31. Bake bread, cakes, pancakes or muffins and have a lazy jazz breakfast.

Morning Success: How to Start your Day with Joy and Gratitude

So every morning I have a three-part routine. Inspired by the likes of Tony Robbins and Hal Elrod, I developed a routine that works for me. Elrod has a five-part routine which consists of silence (meditation), affirmations, visualisations, exercise, reading and scribing. Whilst he says to just do each one for 5 minutes (i.e a 30 minute routine), I find it hard to switch between tasks due to my dyslexia, so I felt his routine was a bit too complicated for most non-neurotypicals.

I therefore started my own take on this.

Mediation

I began my routine of meditating by using Headspace’s app, which gives you 10 days for free. This was the easiest for me to do, as I was able to be reminded by my phone. But once my free trial was up, I had to get creative if I was going to continue without spending money on this new habit. So, I spent some time searching for mediations online that made me feel comfortable and arranged them in a playlist in order of length. I did this so that even if I didn’t feel like meditating or didn’t feel like I had time to meditate, I would still do a minute or two. Here is that playlist. 

Hearing affirmations whilst exercising

Standing in front of the mirror ready to tell yourself that you are amazing can be very awkward, weird or even downright creepy for some people. I would also imagine that the idea of doing affirmations does not really excite most people. For me, it was also about time spent on this task. Therefore, I decided to do my 5 minutes of yoga whilst listening to tracks that did the affirmations for me. There are three that I use, depending on my mood. I have one for gratitude, one for financial affirmations, and one for general affirmations, depending on what has come up for me during my meditation. For example, if I find during my meditation that my mind is wandering towards worrying about finance then I choose the financial affirmations. I sometimes just listen, and other times I repeat the affirmations after I hear them. Particularly if I hear something that I do not yet believe to be true (either because it isn’t or because I am having trouble accepting it).

A jazz or story-time breakfast

I then go and make my breakfast and whilst I slowly savour my first meal of the day, I try to remain grateful that I am one of the lucky people in the world to wake up with food in the fridge / cupboard. I usually have a pink grapefruit and toast, muesli with fruit, or porridge with cinnamon. During this, I listen to one of the audiobooks I am currently enjoying or my cheerful jazz playlist. I then write my ‘Most Important Tasks’ list for the day, if i didn’t do it the night before. And then I kick-start my day!

This whole experience takes me between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on how much time I spend on each, but if I wanted to meditate for just a minute and then only do 3 minutes of yoga with affirmations, I would be able to do it in 15 minutes, including eating my breakfast.

Everyone has 15 minutes in the morning to take care of their needs. Invest in your own growth. Treat yourself to time to be alone with yourself and your thoughts. No-one else will.