Thursday, 23 January 2020

Supporting your Child through their GCSEs

person studying
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

It’s January and when you have a child in year 11 and getting ready to sit their GCSE examinations in the summer, that means mock exams time at most schools. My son is right in the middle of his, he had three in November and now the rest of them in a three-week block in January. So far, he has sat eight of them and whilst he’d happily go without the mocks, I am really pleased the schools do them.

When I’ve asked secondary school teacher friends what the best way to revise is, they have all said that the best thing your child can do is complete past papers. This doesn’t actually give them new knowledge, or even revise what they know already but it allows them to recall their learning, to give exam style structure in the answers and to gain valuable feedback from the person marking it, as to where they could improve and gain valuable points. An extra point or two on a paper could be the difference between grades, and thus a pass or a fail.

Let me share with you how I am supporting JJ in the run up to his GCSEs -

1.  Being available - have you noticed that teenagers never want to talk to you when you make yourself available? My JJs favourite times to chat to me are as soon as he walks in from school and I’m working, or around 11.15pm, when he should be sleeping! Yes, it can be annoying, but I’ve learnt it is far more important to stop what I’m doing and give him 15 minutes to download his concerns, thoughts or questions. This is particularly important during the actual exam period, then if your child feels as if an exam went wrong it’s good to be able to talk about it and externalise the associated feelings.

2.  Let them set the agenda - your child is now 15 or 16 years old and as such we have to give them a level of trust. Allow them to choose what they will study and when, of course we can offer advice, but it is really important that we don’t continually badger them to do things our way. I know that if I asked JJ too much about his revising he would clam up and probably do less as he’d be annoyed at me.  Let’s afford them the level of trust they deserve, and of course each child is different. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

What to Wear When You Work From Home (Aside From Pyjamas)

Photo by AllGo  on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Now, more than ever, many people are working from home or via a remote location, which has sparked many discussions on workplace productivity, diversity and mental health. But where is the discussion about how working from home affects workplace fashion? Well, we are about to have it right here.

The number of people telecommuting or working remotely has grown by 159 percent over the last 12 years, according to a study conducted by Global Workplace Analytics. This has provided both employees and employers with more flexibility in all aspects of business, and it has virtually eliminated workplace dress codes.

If you work from home, it may be easy to stay in your pyjamas all day, not brush your teeth until 5 p.m. or work from the comfort of your own bed. And statistically, while those who work remotely are more productive than their counterparts who work in an office, all of those factors above could lead to a loss in productivity, creativity and motivation while on the job.

If you’re looking to revamp or improve your work from home wardrobe, consider this style advice and these hacks that will have you looking fabulous while feeling comfortable.

Tops Perfect for Remote Workers
If you work from home, you could stay in your favourite oversized t-shirt all day. But what happens when you have to video conference in or run to a quick meeting at a local coffee shop? That t-shirt isn’t going to cut it. Think about bold plus size blouses that will have you feeling motivated and on your A-game.
      Flowy TopsOf course, no one wants to be wearing a blazer while they work from home because that’s just simply not comfortable. But when you opt for a flowy blouse with unique embellishments, you’re pairing comfort with style, which should make you feel great about your remote look.
      Opt for BlackBlack will always be a sharp colour that can make even the most comfortable clothing look like it belongs in an office. Whether you choose a blouse made out of a soft, stretchy jersey material or a more structured blouse, if it’s black, you will feel put together and chic.
      PrintapaloozaIf you still need a “pick me up” after your first cup of coffee in the morning, throw a blouse on that has a bold pattern or vibrant colour to wake you up. According to colour theory, warmer bright colours can positively impact your mood, and if you’re feeling confident and happy, you are more likely to be more productive.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Another dose of Thankfulness

I feel like I have had the most amazing week. Some of that is because there have been some great times, but I think the rest is just that I am grateful for my life. I don't really share any of the tough times on here anymore, some of them are not just mine to share and others are just too private. As the children grow older and near adults, I can't share their stuff, it's not mine.

Does that mean I am not being authentic on my blog anymore? I do worry about that, but it is what it is. I can't and won't share parts of my life, they're private, but what I do still share is the overall feeling of my life and that is that I am grateful and so fortunate to have good people around me.

So no, I don't feel like I am faking it, or being overly positive as a mask for the less good things that happen, or the ongoing situations that make me sad.  I am sharing everything I feel I can share, those things that are mine alone. Maybe one day, when I write my book, I'll be able to share some of the others.

This week a few of the things that have made me really happy are attending a conference at my home this weekend and having a great session about serving in your community and not continually seeking the next move.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Be Happy, Be You - A Great Resource for your Teens Happiness #BeHappyBeYou

{This post contains an affilate link - as an Amazon Associate I earn from 
qualifying purchases, any affiliiate links will be marked with #ad}

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Be Happy, Be You before Christmas and I've enjoyed reading it, sharing it with my twin girls and trying out some of the suggested tasks. Instantly when one of my 12 year old's picked the book up, she commented on how nice the cover was. Apparently it is a good font, and then upon flicking through the book, she liked the layout as it wasn't just words. So well done Becky and Penny, you've done good for pick-up appeal, but then of course you would, you're both parents of teens.

Be Happy, be You is the newest book from Penny Alexander and Becky Goddard-Hill, who also penned the inspirational Create Your Own Happy, which was designed with younger children in mind. This latest book is a positive and insightful guide for teenagers, it gives them the tools they need to build their confidence, eliminate negative feelings and boost their happiness in all areas of their life. Being a teen can bring some real challenges with it, and even more so nowadays with every part of life being on display via social media.

Even before receiving the book, I felt confident it would be a great resource as I've known both Penny and Becky for a number of years now, and between them they have a wealth of experience. Penny as a teacher and writer, and Becky as a social worker and life coach; as well as both being mothers of course.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Christmas at Bateman's National Trust, East Sussex

Christmas tree at Bateman's

Bateman's is the former home of the renowned author Rudyard Kipling. It is a beautiful sandstone house surrounded by gardens, farmland and the beautiful rolling East Sussex countryside. I love that you can acess most of the house and get a real feel for how Rudyard must have lived. Walking through his study is particularly special. 

Bateman's house

Christmas Theme 2019

The theme for Christmas 2019 was Rudyards book series, the 'Just So Stories' which were aimed at younger children. Each room was themed around a particular story and this worked really well. I have visited Bateman's a couple of times before and this special theming added an extra something for this visit.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Feeling Grateful Every Day

As I walked into the hospital this morning for my appointment, I could feel my heart swelling with gratitude. Not because life is perfect and I have it all sorted, but because God is good and I'm thankful for the mercies He shows me.

I felt at peace with the world and as I left the hospital knowing I needed another operation, I was quite happy with this. It doesn't take a lot to throw me off kilter though, as one phone call from the girls Head of House at school and I started to feel anxious and discontent.

It's nothing major, and I hope after a good chat later with one of the girls I'll feel better. I hate it when it feels as if one of my kids is getting the rough deal. She isn't an angel at all, but the other child definitely has played their part in their rocky relationship.

Confrontation and feeling powerless in a situation are two things sure to throw my balance, but I'm not going to let them steal my joy and that's why I'm putting together this gratitude list. And if it's running, I'll add this post to the Reasons to be Cheerful linky.

Today's gratitude's are -
  1. A lovely warm shower when I woke.
  2. The kids were all up, sorted and out the door for the bus in good time.
  3. A traffic free journey to the hospital, getting me there in time to enjoy a bacon butty before my appointment.
  4. No delay for my appointment; I was in on time and they've confirmed I'll be having another operation to help with my terrible periods.
  5. I treated myself to a fresh raspberry scone and clotted cream to enjoy later.
  6. The car has been cleaned inside and out (and not by me!)
  7. I'm all caught up on my blog work and I'm praying for some new work to come in.
  8. We have a weekend ahead with no plans, except church. I wonder what we'll get up to? 
  9. I'm spending some time in the prayer centre this afternoon, tuning in to God.
  10. I found out there is a new episode weekly of Chicago Medical and that's fab, as I love it! 
  11. A couple of sale tops in Salisbury's and two pairs of PJ's in M&S, all paid for with Christmas vouchers.
Today's a good day. Every day can have elements of good when you seek the joy and look to be content with what you have in life.

Wishing you a fabulous weekend friends. Mich x

Monday, 6 January 2020

2019 - What a Great Year!

I've really enjoyed spending the last few days looking over 2019 and reflecting and praying on what has happened this year. In all, it has been a really good year as I have learnt that my immediate future is based at home - working from here, being available to my children, supporting my husband, volunteering and making sure that I take time to spend with God. Also finding a balance between focusing on getting myself healthier by eating better and exercising, and making sure that my outlook is on other people, so I don't become too self-absorbed. 

It's funny as I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home-mum, or even a work-at-home-mum. My future was always firmly mapped out as a very successful career woman. I knew I'd do well, earn a lot of money, have a big detached house and drive a Mercedes. They were all aspirations before I became a Christian and had my whole life turned upside down. Now I earn very little, live in a house that comes with my husbands job, drive a practical car, I share with my husband and I am more fulfilled than I ever dreamt I could be. Life can surprise you!

Thursday, 2 January 2020

2009 - 2019 A decade in Photos

I kept seeing people doing the #10yearchallenge on social media, sharing a picture of themself and their immediate family in 2009 and then again for the end of the decade in 2019, and I really liked the idea of looking back and seeing what has happened in this decade. How have we aged?

I realised quite quickly though, that for me, most of my life changing moments happened before 2009. By then I was already married (7 years), had owned three houses (since 1997) and was mum to a 6 year old and 2 year old twins. I was happily working part-time at the University of Herts in HR and had been there for around 5/6 years, and had completed my Masters in HR two year prior.

2009 proved to be an allusive year for a photo of the five of us, and I couldn't find any, so I'll start the photos in 2010, this one was taken in June, so it is just before the girls 3rd birthday and we were at a family wedding. It's not the best quality but you can see how young and fresh- faced dh and I look, and I love the joy on JJ's face. So funny to see him missing some teeth, when he is now such a giant!

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