The Word About Town
Issue 15, March 2016
With such an early Easter it's hard to believe that Spring is here and summer is just around the corner.  But it is, and all the wonderful Harpenden family events will be here before you know it.  There's Harpenden Carnival and Discovery Day, plus Art on the Common, on 11 June, Armed Forces Day on 25 June, Larks in the Park on 26 June, the Highland Gathering on 10 July, the Teddy Bears' Picnic on 23 July and Classics on the Common on 27 July.  Pop the dates in your diary now because you don't want to miss all the fun! 

In the meantime, keep everyone entertained at one of the many events taking place locally this Easter weekend.  For a bit of fresh Spring air you might like to consider Willows Farm, Ashridge, Wrest Park, Mead Open Farm, Dunstable Downs, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Knebworth, Woburn, Waddesdon Manor, Wick Wood, Paradise Wildlife Park or Stockwood Discovery Centre as they are all running special Easter events.  For details of these and the many other events taking place this weekend, and over the school Easter holidays, take a look at our Events page.  

Happy Easter everyone!!! 

Helping our children without paying more inheritance tax

We want to give our offspring all the financial support we can, but fear of tax can be off-putting.
With many people living longer and the younger generation unlikely to be as well off as their parents, helping our children and grandchildren financially is increasingly common.  Concerns about inheritance tax have put people off, but there are a number of inheritance tax exemptions of which people are unaware of or not taking advantage of.
Surplus income gift
One method is to ‘gift out of surplus income’ and as long as you meet the basic statutory requirements, it should not be subject to inheritance tax.  For example, helping towards school or university fees.  It is important that the payment is made out of income and not capital and you are able to maintain your usual standard of living once the gifts have been made.  A gifting pattern is needed and good records kept. With the right legal advice, it is an effective means of limiting inheritance tax obligations.
Capital gift
You can also gift outright from capital.  Provided a person survives for at least seven years after making this gift, it is completely outside their estate for inheritance tax purposes.  Gifts up to £3,000 in any one tax year can be made plus any unused balance of £3,000 from the previous tax year.
Visit our website to read the full article. For more information or advice please contact:
Susan Glenholme, Partner
Debenhams Ottaway
T: 01727 735636

Exam revision: is your teenager struggling?

Are they studying all hours, yet feeling anxious, growing increasingly stressed? Or, as exams rapidly approach, do they lack the motivation to get down to revising?
The pressure on young people to succeed is often overwhelming. So it is unlikely that your child is simply not trying. Or that s/he does not have the capacity or abilities to cope with the pressure and to excel. The underlying problem is often the absence of a mindset for success - and a solid technique with which to achieve it. Increasing emphasis is now being placed on exams over coursework. Skills developed over time in the classroom differ vastly to those needed to excel in the exam hall - and beyond. 
Study performance coaching is one to one, tailored exclusively to the learning needs of the individual, with each 80 minute session backed by expert preparation and post-session evaluation. Students are coached to exploit a simple, powerful, universal learning approach, based on established science for how we optimally attend, think, learn, memorise, recall and apply knowledge.

Developed with and wholly for the individual student, s/he can rapidly apply technique(s) to any aspect of learning, at any level; from better understanding and retention in the classroom, to producing highest quality homework, essays, revision, and rapid recall under pressure in exams. Coaching seeks always to reduce the time taken to complete study, allowing more time to develop and improve the quality of all subsequent learning, with the goal of empowering the student to become the best and most successful (learner) they can be, and make the subsequent life and career choices they most want to make.
For premium quality study performance coaching for your teenager call Adrian Finnegan on 01727 823543

the Harpenden collective

Working from home just didn’t seem professional or productive enough for me.
I had been running my own business for 12 years, and when I became pregnant with my second child I knew it was time to give up my studio in Shoreditch, London, but I didn’t want to work from home.  It seemed like a leap too far from the career I had worked so hard to build. The Harpenden Collective’s co-working space, set within the beautiful Harpenden Hall, has been perfect for me. Being a member of The Harpenden Collective means that I can use the contemporary workspace, meeting / team working room and conference space, as and when I need it. There are also social events and businesses have a listing in the business directory.
I work among CEOs and Directors of global companies, designers, web developers, marketing consultants, translators, engineers and more. It’s a stimulating and productive environment.  It has also opened the door to new business opportunities for me and I'd highly recommend it for people currently working from home and those who are fed up of commuting into London every day.
For more information contact Natalie Harmer:
01582 249 123


I found the practice of mindfulness - the cultivation of moment-to-moment awareness - core to my pregnancy journey, birth preparation and parenthood. As a new mum I found that there were numerous places that attempt to tell parents what they should be doing, yet little support about how to tune into yourself and your baby. 

I established Rise ‘N’ Shine to share the practice and benefits of mindfulness with other parents.  Please visit for more information.

Dr Rachel Brown, Founder of Rise 'N' Shine.


Make the world a little friendlier by trying something new this weekend! Many adult international students at UK universities would love to spend a weekend with your family and learn about British culture. Teach your children about other cultures, meet new people, and make a student feel welcome!

To learn more about volunteer hosting on an occasional weekend or day throughout the year, visit or call 020 7739 6292.

is Carrying your Baby Causing you Back Pain?

Caring for a new baby is a great challenge on any new mum’s back. Especially as the baby is growing and getting heavier and the awkward positions you find yourself in, like picking up the car seat out of the car. As a new mum your focus is on your baby not on your back. However, it is a very vulnerable time for mums and where I find back pain can stem from later on in their life. Therefore it is particularly important if you do feel twinges in your back to get yourself checked out early to make sure you are not setting up for a problem in the future.

In my clinic I see many mums with back pain and with Osteopathic treatment I am quickly able to ease the discomfort and get them out of trouble. However, what is important is that they learn to manage their back. I talk through how they are holding the baby to make sure they are spreading the load on both hips. Also, we discuss regular stretching exercises that only take 5-10 mins in your busy life but make the world of difference to your back flexibility and future health of your back.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please feel free to contact me:
Gillian Brown, Osteopath -  Harpenden Injury clinic
Tel: 01582 764361 / 07969 138607

The complicated world of understanding grown up rules

Imagine driving in a world where there were no traffic lights, no speed limit signs, no yellow lines.  Regardless of this you are expected to comply with complicated and ever changing rules. Break the speed limit that you don’t know and you will be fined. Get it wrong and you get punished.

Now think children. When do they find out what the rules are? Usually when they break them and get told off. Some rules are learnt and embedded early, usually those that keep children safe, but what about the rest?  We can’t present a gigantic behaviour rule book, nor can we post signs and traffic light systems, but sometimes changing the environment or removing the opportunity can avoid unwanted behaviour.

He can’t play football indoors if he can’t access a football; she won’t play on the iPad instead of getting dressed if the iPad isn’t available.
Cut your toddler some slack the first time she uses your best lipstick as face paint, she sees you doing it, albeit in a refined manner, so how does she know it was wrong?

• Remove opportunities for unwanted behaviour.
• Make sure children understand the important rules.

Remember until they have done something wrong the first time, they often don’t know it was wrong.

Harpenden and Rural Children’s Centres offer a range of services and workshops to help parents manage the behaviour of their children.


put a spring in your step!

The school holidays are coming up and perhaps you need some 'me' time or fancy taking up a new hobby or exercise class.  Look no further for inspiration than our website.  We're not just for the kids!  Browse Beauty, pampering & style, Interests & hobbies or Fitness Clubs & Classes, and choose something which will put a spring back into your step!  And don't forget, if you need to arrange some holiday childcare to claim that little bit of 'me' time, our Holiday Clubs & Classes section is just what you need!  And relax!!!

Alison, Angela, Carol & Katie
The Mum's guide to Harpenden Team

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