Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Its so Important to Thank our Brilliant Teachers

Best teacher mage courtesy of Shutterstick

In 2013 our family moved from Hertfordshire to East Sussex and whilst this has been the right move for our family for so many reasons, it is the children's schooling where I have been most pleased. Our three children attended a big town school in Herts where there were 500 students and very high attainment levels. Of course that's not a bad thing in general but it led of our children being just another pupil and not being seen for the unique individuals they are.

When we moved to East Sussex we looked at a couple of schools local to our new rural home but one easily stood out for us. The children's new school is a small Church of England School in a local village, it has around 140 pupils and only five classes for the whole school from reception through to year 6. I worried at first that these mixed year classes might hold my kids back but it has actually proved to be completely the opposite.

In 2013 JJ was 10 years old and heading into year 5 at the new school and the twins were 6 years old and going into year 2 and it was amazing, especially for JJ, to be judged on his merits of who he was at that time. JJ had attended his last school since he was 4 years old and they had watched him develop from an oversized pre-schooler with spacial awareness issues, to a troubled young boy who struggled to make friends and deal with change, through to the gifted ten year old he was when he started his new school. But his old school seemed to have stopped in their assessment of him and he was painted as a kid with issues and one who was a challenge to have in class.

Within a week of being in the new school he had received a Head Teachers Award for how well he had settled in and they truly seemed to be able to see him for who he really was and not who he might have been a few years back. It was amazing and lifted my spirits so much. I don't know if it is because of an exceptional Head Teacher that you get marvellous teachers in general or if a small village schools attracts them but whatever it is, I need to give a big thank you to Mr Payne, Mrs Lloyd, Mrs Cleaves and Mrs Gill in particular.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

8 Fabulous Slime Tutorials with Top Slime Tips (UK Ingredients)

Over the last six months my 10 year old twin daughters and I have been having loads of fun making slime together. We use an easy recipe with ingredients all easily available in the UK and Ireland and the slime can be made in under 5 minutes and lasts for weeks as long as you keep it in an very air-tight container and take it out to play with regularly rather than just leaving it to sit unattended.

Check out my YouTube channel - Michelle Twin Mum if you want to see all our slime tutorials.

Big Fluffy Sparkle Slime - First up is our most recent video and it is the first appearance of Miss M on video. She does make me laugh in this and Miss E was filming and guiding her through what to do. They did a great job and Miss M is still enjoying playing with this big slime a couple of weeks later. You can see in the photo below that the glitter starts to bleed into the white slime as it gets more and more gold looking the older it gets.

Ingredients - This slime is made with PVA glue, shaving foam, bicarbonate of soda, glitter and contact lens solution (containing boric acid - this is important to make it work!) and food colouring or paint if you want it to be a different colour.

Slime Tip - You can add baby oil to help a sticky slime become less sticky or any kind of baby or body lotion to help your slime be more stretchy.

Slime Tip - Use the ultra fine glitter instead of the regular grainy type as this makes the difference in feel when you play with the slime.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Light at the End of the Tunnel – We can Get Help! #aminumber5?

This was my view on our Spanish holiday earlier this year and whilst it was beautiful. It would have been
so much more fun to be in the water with my family!

I remember being 12 when I headed to the toilet in the Happy Eater restaurant and saw that first flush of pink on the toilet paper. We were there as a family for Sunday lunch and the day wasn’t supposed to be any different to any other, but of course it was. In my mum’s words, ‘I had become a woman’ and on one hand I was very pleased to be growing up but on another I realized it was the start of something.

Not that my periods presented any problem for me for the first twenty years of having them. I was very regular, they were never too heavy and I just had a five day bleed. No, I certainly didn’t realize how lucky I was back then. The problems for me only started when I had my first child in 2003, after having JJ my periods returned far quicker than I thought they would considering I was breastfeeding and they didn’t just come back quicker, they came back much heavier.

Of course you can take care of the flow with the appropriate sanitary protection but what I found so hard to deal with was the pain. I can recall a day when I had to ring into work from my car as I had tried to drive there and I was doubled up in pain. I got myself to the doctors and asked to see someone and luckily they fitted me in. Mefanamic acid became my best friend and really did dampen the pain but each month there were still two or three days with very heavy bleeding (losing clots too) and almost unbearable pain.

I just learnt to live with it until I fell pregnant again about three years later. I’m really not sure why I didn’t seek more help, I just seemed to put up with the heavy bleeding and the pain, not knowing that I had menorrhagia, or heavy periods, a recognised medical condition. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Reasons to be Cheerful - Crazy Golf, Pub Grub and Pretty Nails #R2BC

Happy Thursday friends, it's been a couple of weeks since I've joined in with Reasons to be Cheerful, so it is high time to rectify that and I always find the longer I leave it between gratitude posts the harder they are to write. Being thankful is a discipline that really is best practised daily.

I had a look back over last weeks diary and quickly saw there is loads to be thankful for -

We took some our volunteers out for a day in Brighton and we started the day with a game of crazy golf. It was great fun.

My husband had a few odd days off work recently using up his holiday before the year end, so we've been going out for lunch or a coffee and been able to spend time together.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Review: Skin Renewal Treatment from Swiss Clinic

As a 44 year old woman I'm fully aware that your skin starts to change as you age and after decades of not really doing anything to my skin, except a quick wash I thought it was high time to start taking a bit more care. Read on to find out how I got on with microneedling - the art of rolling tiny needles across my face. Yes really!

There's nothing like moving from no beauty regime to going to something quite new and some would say radical. When the Swiss Clinic got in touch with me back in August and suggested I might of heard of them due to the success of Skin Renewal - one of their signature microneedling treatments I had to chuckle to myself. This is a woman who doesn't read magazines, has no idea what is in fashion and is more focused on the inside than out.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Scottish Friendly's No Spend Weekend Challenge

Money just seems to disappear when you have kids, right? That is one reason I said yes to getting involved with Scottish Friendly's no spend weekend challenge and I think I did well. Come and read all the ways we had fun as a family without spending money.

My lovely friend Cass at Frugal Family often talks about no spend days and to be honest I had never heard of the concept before. So simple but yet completely alien to me and I kept meaning to give it a go but it never happened. So this weekend challenge was a good chance to put it into action and see if a spender like me could go cold turkey! I wasn't expecting miracles if I'm honest.

Friday After School - Pressing Fresh Juice!
Once a month all the families who live together in our community come together for an event to engage the children and we eat together.

This month we were focusing on harvest and how good God is in all He provides in our life. We all went down to the walled garden in the grounds of our home and gathered some fruit and veg and then set about cleaning, preparing and pressing the fruit to make fresh juice to have with our dinner. We ended up with apple, apple and rhubarb and apple and beetroot juice.

We had a great staff dinner of pasta or jacket potato with bolognaise, cheese and salad and of course the fresh juice and we finished off with melon chunks from melons grown in our green houses.  JJ and my husband headed off to church for his youth club and the girls and I had a game of monopoly before bed.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Taking my Sight for Granted on World Sight Day #WSD2017

Today is World Sight Day and I have an admission to make - I rarely think about the privilege that it is to be able to see the world in glorious colour. I take my eye sight completely for granted, I am so lucky to have been born in a country where healthcare and eye-care is free for every child. Of course the same can't be said for many living in the poorest parts of Africa. I recall when I was visiting Ethiopia just how many people I met who had numerous eye problems such as cataracts and these problems adversely affect their life in a massive way.

This years theme for World Sight Day is #MakeVisionCount and they are raising awareness that around 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired and that around 80% of those people are suffering from blindness or visual impairment due to a preventable cause (1).

I have no real idea of the impact blindness would cause on my every day life, so yesterday afternoon I did something simple and put on a blindfold and tried to navigate my house. It was after school so the kids were there if I needed them and I told them to just treat me as normal. I managed a trip to the loo on my own and I could do that OK although I have to admit I found it very scary living in the darkness, even only for a short time.

Just as I was about to come out I heard one of my girls calling my name and it was pretty shocking that I couldn't actually tell which of my twins it was. When I identified it was Miss E she said come and help me with my maths homework mum and normally I help her read the questions as she is dyslexic and it can take her a while but of course I couldn't do that. I had to ask my son to help her. Then my other daughter asked for a snack and could she have a cream cheese and ham wrap? I decided to attempt this without my sight as I wouldn't be using a sharp knife or such and it was fine but it took me twice as long, was pretty messy and she ended up with chicken slices rather than ham.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Keeping your Kids Mobile Safe at School

Children with mobile phones image from Shutterstock
It was only a couple of years ago I found myself saying to my husband, but surely JJ doesn't need a mobile now he is at Secondary school? We never had one, so why should he? But then my husband patiently reminded me that thirty years ago when we were at school there was a coin operated phone box on practically every street corner and we both lived within walking distance of our schools. Now our son travels for nearly an hour on the bus and in all that time doesn't pass even one phone box!

Oh yes things really have changed and I am convinced that for the most part the changes really are a good thing but of course there are challenges too and we'll explore some of those now.

It's against School Policy
This is a tough one as generally I always want to encourage our children to adhere to the school rules but actually I think school are being a bit short-sighted on this one. Without a mobile, how is my son to tell me if he misses the bus or if it breaks down, when there are no longer any call boxes and no public transport to where we live?

Practicality dictates for us that JJ (age 14) takes his phone to school with him and during the school day it stays on mute at the bottom of his bag. From what he tells me it is exactly what nearly every other child in the school does too, so it seems comical that the school keep reinforcing in their newsletter that phones must not be bought into school and if a child does they are breaking the school rules and any loss or damage will not be dealt with by the school. I suppose that is one way of them ensuring they don't have lots of parents banging on their door moaning about theft or breakage.