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The charity making life better by water

Meet Nicola and Bella

Hairdresser on boat

"My customers are other boaters, local residents, passing tourists, cyclists, and walkers. People just walking past with their dogs knock on side of the boat for an ‘on spec' haircut or to make an appointment. Wherever I moor the boat is an advert for itself and now people come and find me in all weathers. "Is it cold in winter?" is the question I'm most asked, but when customers see the wood burner glowing they find out how cosy narrowboats can be all year round. Most of my customers are regular returners so I suppose that's proof that the salon is successful not just because it's quirky!

The Floating Salon is a normal, fully functioning, hair and nail salon – it just happens to have water rippling past. Being off grid doesn't affect my work because I have an electric battery bank and I keep my tank full of water.

I was originally a mobile hairdresser until I had this crazy idea, well it felt crazy at the time, to launch my first salon on a widebeam boat in 2008. People said "you must be very brave", but it seemed perfect to me. I was even honoured to be asked to take part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Thames in June 2012.

After seven years I decided not to carry on living aboard, and downsized to a smaller boat to use solely as a salon. Now I get the best of both worlds, Bella and I come to work on the water and we go home to the land at the end of the day. It's a great way of life because I love hairdressing and I love the waterways."

Nicola and Bella, Bradford on Avon, Kennet & Avon Canal

photo of a location on the canals
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