Friday, 24 September 2021

The New House



I haven't been blogging as much as we finally moved into the new house at the end of August and it's been a whirlwind of unpacking and signing the boys up to new schools and uniform shopping.

The house is a 400-year-old character-filled joy.
It was originally 3 little cottages now all conjoined into one big house.

It needs a bit of love, such as new double glazed windows, a new shower room and the front needs a bit of TLC but with time we will get them done.
We have already designed and ordered a new kitchen, which will be fitted in the new year.


We still have a few boxes to unpack and we're on our second skip, but I thought I'd share a few snaps of the house.


The first breakfast in the new house, Jon was at work so it was just the children!
We decided to keep the room as just a dining room without a TV or sofa, and it's so nice everyone talks rather than eat mindlessly staring at the TV.
I cannot wait to get the log burner going when it gets cold enough.


The side door.


I've spotted a few gorgeous rose bushes around the garden, in the next week or so ill be getting out there and deadheading them all so they come back even nicer next year.



The younger boys didn't get into the local school due to their year groups being full, so they were given a place at a school in the next village.
I have got them on the waiting list, as I'd love for them to be able to walk to school rather than have to contend with the crazy school run traffic.

Noah started a week late due to there being a bit of a mix up with the council, but he got into the local secondary, which is literally a stone's throw away from the house and he can walk there by himself.
It has a good Ofsted, and is a small school which I think will really benefit him!


Bea's room is really coming along.


This part of the house is possibly my favourite!
I love the bookshelves and the window lets in lovely sunshine and we get to see a lovely sunset through it at the end of the day. It also still has the original shutters on it!


This weekend we are hoping to get the rest of the rubbish cleared and everything finally put away.
Then we can get into the garden and start planning that! Chickens are definitely on the hit list!

 

A Parents' Guide To GCSES


 

GCSE exams are taken by pupils at the end of their time at secondary school when they can study particular subjects in more depth than at primary school. They are an important first stepping stone to future career and study options, so choosing the right GCSEs is an important decision. To help you and your child understand what’s involved, here’s a guide from a secondary school in Kildare on choosing GCSEs and getting to grips with them. 

 




Choosing subjects

 

When it comes to picking their GCSEs, encourage your child to think carefully about a few things. First, they should consider the subjects they enjoyed at primary school and might like to explore further; it will be hard for them to feel motivated enough to study a subject for a couple of years if they’re not interested in it. Secondly, they should think about what they’re good at; playing to their strengths will increase the chances of progressing well in the subject and getting a good grade. Lastly, prompt them to think about the future and what A levels they’d like to study at college (and which GCSE subjects might be prerequisites for them). If your child is keen to explore an apprentice route instead, they might want to pick a range of subjects to keep their options open. 

 

Exams and assessment

 

Your child’s GCSEs will probably be assessed through a mixture of coursework and exams, and possibly practical assessments. If their GCSE requires an exam, this usually takes place in the summer, after a revision period, with results available in August. The grading system for GCSEs changed in 2014, with a numerical system replacing the previous letter-based one. GCSEs are now graded from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest grade and 1 the lowest. Pupils need a minimum of 4 for a standard pass and 5 for a strong pass. 

 

After GCSEs

 

After they’ve completed their GCSEs, your child will have a few options. They can choose to continue studying full-time, usually at college, to complete A-Levels or other equivalent qualifications. Alternatively, they can study for work and job-related courses like NVQs and BTECs. If they’re keen to get a taster of venturing into the world of work, they might prefer to undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship, training to do a specific job while working for an employer - this is great for children who are less academically minded and prefer to develop practical skills for a specific career path. They can also work or volunteer while studying part-time.


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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Five Signs Your Child Needs A Tutor.

 

It can be hard to know whether your child could use some extra support with their learning, especially as they might not be very communicative about any struggles they’re experiencing. They might worry about disappointing you or feel embarrassed about needing more help, so it’s important to reassure your child that needing a little bit more support is nothing to be ashamed of and that everyone finds things difficult sometimes. To help you identify the signs that your child might need a tutor here’s some guidance on what to look for from a private school in Cardiff




 

They struggle to concentrate in class or with homework

 

Many children find it hard to focus at school when there’s a lot of noise and distractions, or at home if they don’t have a quiet place to study. Not being able to engage with their studies might lead children to misbehave when they get bored or frustrated. If you’ve noticed your child finding it difficult to concentrate, tutoring can help as your child will be able to learn in different surroundings with someone helping them one-on-one and giving them the attention they need. 

 

They’re stuck on a particular subject

 

If your child is struggling, chances are they’re finding a particular subject difficult, perhaps because it doesn’t suit their learning style and the way they understand and retain the information; for example, maths can be a tricky subject for children who find it hard to follow logic. In this case, a tutor can help them focus on a certain subject, overcome any blocks they have around the topic, and work through their difficulties with one-on-one teaching. Their tutor will be able to explain concepts in various different ways until they find a method they understand, which teachers in the classroom often don’t have time to do. 

 

They’re excelling in a certain subject

 

Conversely, your child might be thriving in a particular subject and they may have developed a deep interest in it which they want to explore further. A tutor can help them hone their strengths and nurture their passion for the topic, and having this extra support will ensure they can concentrate on the subject away from any distractions at school. 

 

You find it hard to help them with homework

 

You might find that your child’s homework is difficult even for you and that your child has questions that you can’t answer for them. In this case, a tutor will help answer those questions and plug the gap so that your child gets the most out of their learning. 

 

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Tuesday, 21 September 2021

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE

 

Children all learn differently and it’s important to bear this in mind when it comes to supporting your child’s education. Identifying how your child best absorbs and retains information, and the learning methods that suit them will allow you to support their education in the most effective way. Here a senior school in London outlines the three main learning styles, and how you can identify the signs of them in your child and apply this knowledge to help them learn effectively. 




 

Visual learners

 

Visual learners like to see what they’re learning, so they respond best to visual representations of information, such as charts, pictures, diagrams and videos. Often these types of learners are good at remembering what they’ve seen, so they might recognise faces and places easily. You can support a visual learner by relaying information visually wherever possible and letting them draw their own representations of what they’re learning. They might also be drawn to screens, so letting them watch educational TV programmes or play computer games that cover particular topics will help your child understand and retain information in the most effective way. 

 

Auditory learners

 

These learners prefer to have the information explained to them verbally because they like to listen in order to understand. They also like to talk things through and read text aloud rather than in their head. You can help auditory learners by giving them verbal instructions and directions when possible, and facilitating conversations about topics. This will help your child remember key details they’ve heard. They might struggle a bit when it comes to reading in their head, so you can support them by initiating a discussion about what they’ve read afterwards. 

 

Kinaesthetic learners

 

Kinaesthetic learners are hands-on and like to touch and feel what they’re learning in order to understand it. They like moving around and using their body to facilitate their learning. You might notice your child using hand gestures a lot and finding it hard to sit still. They might like walking around a lot and participating in activities like sport or dance. For this type of learner, you can help them understand information by including some form of movement in their learning, such as making up dances or hand movements to help them remember key details. 

 

You’ll probably find that your child’s learning style is a mixture of these three main types, but one is probably more dominant than the other; knowing which one will help you support their learning efficiently at home and relay this information to their teachers so they’re supported adequately at school as well. 

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

HELPING YOUR CHILD TO OVERCOME OBSTACLES

It can be hard as a parent to watch our children struggling with something or facing disappointment, but such challenges are opportunities for learning and growth which we have a responsibility to guide them through. It’s our job to give our kids the tools they need to work through problems and move on from setbacks so they’re not afraid to try new things and reach for their goals, despite any hardships they might face along the way. 

Here’s some guidance from a nursery in Hampshire on how you can help your child overcome obstacles. 

 



Take the lead

 

Children learn a lot from watching how their parents and caregivers approach the world and how they face challenges and disappointments, so it’s important to set a good example. If your child sees you frustrated or angry about a difficult situation, they might learn to react the same way, so try to ensure they see you approach obstacles with positivity and without being intimidated or giving up easily. 

When you face setbacks or problems, get your child involved in helping you find the learning opportunities and finding positive solutions - that way they’ll learn that difficulties can be worked through and aren’t necessarily a sign to give up. 

 

Keep a sense of perspective

 

Encourage your child to keep the bigger picture in mind when they’re frustrated by something in the moment or when they’ve had disappointing news. If they’re feeling a little defeated by a tough homework assignment, or finding it a struggle to make new friends, remind them that situations like these don’t last forever, and aren’t necessarily a big deal in the grand scheme of life. 

Of course, you don’t want to belittle their feelings, but reminding them that they can work through problems and break things down into smaller steps to achieve their goal will help them keep a sense of perspective. 

 

Help them handle difficult emotions

 

Your child will experience a variety of different emotions as they grow and mature, and they won’t always know how to deal with them. As their parent, you can help by explaining the emotions and providing suggestions for how they can channel them in healthy ways; for example, teach them deep breathing or counting techniques to call on when they’re feeling angry or frustrated, or give them a journal to write in to express feelings of sadness or disappointment. 

Knowing that their feelings are normal, and how to handle them, will help your child face future obstacles with positivity and resilience. 



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Friday, 20 August 2021

Back To School With Very Neko

 Back to School is just around the corner for those of us in England, pupils in Scotland have already started their new school term.

There is always excitement, nerves and worries about the brand new school term...

Will I like my new teacher?

Will my best friend still like me?

Will I make new friends?

Will this year be hard?


Usually, those worries always melt away the moment you step into the playground and spot your best buddy.
Some like my boys will all be starting brand new schools, so the nerves don't always melt away instantly but usually by the end of the day they all have new friends.
One great way to help make a child feel happy about going back to school is.....

New School accessories, such as a brand new bag and water bottle.




Very Neko have a great range of homewares, collectables and clothing from all your favourite characters all at reasonable prices.

When shopping for back to school supplies I scrolled through all the Loungefly bags until I came across the Starwars droids all over backpack which was in the sale for £20.99 usually priced up at £39.99 and decided that would be perfect for Ru and then after recently buying myself a metal water bottle Ru really wanted one so I found the Mickey Mouse rainbow Funko bottle for £12.99 which I knew straight away would be perfect for him.
The bottle will keep his water cool all day helping to keep him hydrated!

The bag is a good size and has two compartments in the main section, so Ru will be able to keep his paperwork tidy and still have plenty of space to put his pe kit in and his stationary and reading books.


Ru was over the moon with his new back to school goodies and is now more excited than ever to start his brand new school in September.


*products were gifted for the purpose of this post.











Helping Your Child Deal with Exam Stress


Whether your child is preparing for GCSEs or for A-Levels, stress is an unfortunate reality of this period for many teenagers. Most children understand that exam results have an impact on their future plans. It’s vital that parents recognise the signs of stress and more importantly, teach their children how to deal with the pressures as they arise.

 


Coping strategies for exam stress

 

It’s a rare student who doesn’t worry about exams at all. Most children will have some periods of worry. Talk to your child about stress and the risks of it before they get to the revision stage of examinations. Also, discuss strategies they can adapt to keep the worries at bay. Here are some of the things you can discuss with them in advance of exams – knowledge is power and preparation is key to minimising stress:

 

·      How long the revision period will last

·      How many hours of study are required

·      Which subjects they need to concentrate on

·      What would happen if they failed

·      How they could salvage the situation 

 

A lot of worries is down to fear of the unknown. By informing your child of the facts related to exams, you’re empowering them to cope better. Equally, letting them know that it’s not the end of the world if they should fail is an important part of helping them to see the realities of life. Sometimes things don’t work out as we want them to. That’s fine – a change of plan is not a problem if it’s managed properly.

 

Preparing your child for exam success

 

Obviously, the best way to help your child succeed in their exams is through preparation and study. Not all teenagers struggle with this – some enjoy it and if their school or college supports them with extra sessions, all the better. This independent college in Somerset does just that and it shows in the results.



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Wednesday, 18 August 2021

My Birth Story

I know its 6 months late but I finally feel I'm able to share my birth story.

My pregnancy with Bea started off awful due to morning sickness, which only eased off once I was 4 months pregnant then for a few weeks I felt fine and had all my energy back.
Though from around 28 weeks I started to get itchy.
Which ended up with me having my bloods taken weekly to keep an eye on my bile acid levels.
I was being monitored for cholestasis of pregnancy.

My bile acid level would rise and fall weekly but the doctors weren't too concerned but still wanted me to be tested weekly.

At 33 weeks I had to have an iron transfusion due to my levels being really low.

Around 35 weeks I started to get what I thought was really bad heartburn, so bad that I would call my mum up crying telling her it wasn't normal and I was pretty sure either Bea was on her way or I was dying.

Eventually the pain would go away and I would laugh off my hysterics.

My birth plan was to have a water birth at home with Jon and my mum by my side.

At 37 weeks I had some more bloods done, and this time they ticked all liver function tests and sent them away, my mum arrived in Norfolk as she was coming to stay for the month to be around for the birth and a while after to lend a hand.

I remember my phone ringing constantly, the hospital wanted me in the next day to take more bloods and to do more checks, I was then booked in for a scan on the Tuesday to double check on Bea and another appointment with my consultant was made.

I didn't really think twice and got on with the day.



After dinner my parents went back to their cottage and we went to bed, I was feeling a little worse for wear but put that down to being tired.
Around 1am I woke up feeling like labour had started, I was sick and then the chest pain came 10 times stronger than it had ever come before.

I ripped my t-shirt off and was moaning so loudly that even Noah woke up worrying what was going on.
I was grabbing at my chest saying this isn't right.

Jon called my mum (my mum is a home birth midwife) and she came right round.
I could barely talk through the pain and she made Jon call the delivery ward and they told me to come straight away, the ambulance wait was too long, so Jon drove me.



By the time i got to hospital i was pretty out of it, but i remember a hand a banging headache and the chest pain was still going strong.
They put me in a room and I remember it instantly filling up with people.
I remember telling them my head and chest hurt and just closing my eyes.

    I woke a little while later with drips and canulars in and I was hooked up to fluid on one side and on the other I was hooked up to magnesium sulphate. 

I was having my bloods taken hourly, and I was constantly being prodded with needles and being told what was going to happen.

My consultant even came back as soon as she heard I was in hospital, so she was there waiting to talk to me.

She told me I had HELLP Syndrome!
It was really rare and because I hadn't had preeclampsia before and I wasn't with a new partner it wasn't something they were looking for, plus my blood pressure always seemed ok.
She was thankful I came in as the worse would have happened if I had tried to stay home and brush the pain off.

On Saturday when I was finally stabilised and back with it, the plan of action was to induce me whilst carrying on with the hourly bloods and magnesium sulphate.

I agreed and they got on with it,  I cant say it was a pleasant experience being induce in front of a room full of people, but apparently needs must.
As i settled down ready for the long wait my consultant came back in and said unfortunately a C-section was needed and it had to be done under general anaesthetic, my blood platelets had dropped extremely low and I needed to have a platelet transfusion first. 



Having my c-section under general anaesthetic meant Jon couldn't be in the theatre with me and I wouldn't hear Bea's first cry.
I remember being wheeled in and feeling ok about it, but as soon as the oxygen mask was put on me I started to freak out, I kept trying to pull it away from my face and the anaesthetist was trying to calm me down.

I woke up in recovery with Jon by my side.
Once I had woken they bought Bea in to see me, I cried and remember saying are you sure she's ours?
I couldn't hold her as I still wasn't really with it, so the midwife gave her a cup of formula and then Jon held her beside me.
Bea needed a little resuscitation due to the anaesthetic but other than that she was fine.

We were taken back into the delivery room where I had been since I arrived at hospital.
Jon stayed as long as possible and then headed home so he could sleep, as he hadn't slept since the Thursday.

The midwives were all amazing and helped me with feeding Bea through the night by bringing her to me when she needed feeding and making sure I was ok.

In the morning Jon came back and bought along with him presents from my mum and some food, as i hadn't eaten for a while.

We spent the day looking at Bea and not quite believing we finally had our little girl.
Towards the end of the day I was taken off the magnesium sulphate and the fluid. My bloods were still being taken hourly just to keep an eye on things.

Around 10pm I was helped get out of bed and see how mobile i was, it was hard but i was able to walk slowly. As they had taken out my catheter I had to be made to go for a wee to make sure everything was working.
Once they were happy I was moved onto the main ward.

It was busy and noisy and I instantly wanted to go home, we made it through the night and I was still being monitored for my urine levels, I was told if i didn't do enough I would have to have the catheter put back in, obviously that made me down the jugs of water available and make me get out of bed and moving.
I didn't want to spend another night on the ward!

The snow was getting heavy and Jon wasn't too sure if he would come and see me, but after a tearful phone-call he got on his way and came to see us.
By the time he got to me the midwife was pretty sure I would be able to go home that day!
I just had to make sure I kept going to the toilet and feeding Bea!

We cracked it and by 6pm they said we were good to go!
The drive home was so scary due to the amount of snow on the road, 
My mum didn't tell the boys so it was lovely seeing their faces when we finally arrived home with their little baby sister!

They were instantly smitten with her just as we were!

In the days after I developed an infection in my wound, so I had to have twice weekly doctor appointments and was put on strong antibiotics but I recovered in time, I also had to keep having my bloods checked for a couple of weeks afterwards.

I am thankful that my mum was around for a whole month to lend a hand and help me get my nursing established.

It definitely wasn't the birth I was after and it has taken me a while to get my head around it but the main thing is that Bea is here she is amazing, I'm still here and I have recovered well!

 

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Mindfulness with Your Child

 

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help children and adults deal with the stresses and strains of daily modern life.

 


What is Mindfulness?

 

Mindfulness is the act of focusing on the present moment. It’s a type of meditation designed to help people pay attention to their bodies, thoughts and feelings. It’s very useful for children because it helps them to develop coping skills for their emotions which for many children are hard to regulate.

 

Many schools adopt mindfulness as a regular part of the curriculum. Pastoral care is an important factor to consider when choosing a school, this junior school in Leicestershire has an excellent pastoral care team. Research has shown that Mindfulness can help children’s academic performance and reduce anxiety. Bedtimes can also be improved with Mindfulness as it can calm wakeful or over-stimulated children. Here are some ways in which you can easily explore Mindfulness with your child:

 

Take a Mindful walk

 

Take your child for a walk somewhere quiet and filled with nature. Help them to tune into the environment by pointing out the sounds…wind in the grass, birdsong, the babbling of a stream. Help your child to tune in to each sound separately and then to hear them all together. Point out the different sites such as flowers, leaves and other natural features. Focus on small aspects of each – notice the centre of a flower and each individual petal.

 

Mindful bedtimes and how they can help your child

 

Bedtime is a great opportunity to explore Mindfulness. Ask your child to lie down and in a calm, quiet voice, ask them to notice each part of their body separately, starting with their toes and moving up to ankles, knees, stomach, shoulders and so on.

 

Ask your child to notice how each area feels. The idea of this exercise is to help your child to focus on the present moment and not to worry about anything at all. Anxiety prone children should be encouraged to practice this alone eventually. 

 

The great thing about Mindfulness is that it can be practised anywhere! At home, on a walk, at school and on a bus! It’s a free, effective way to calm and focus. And many children need that focused energy in order to manage their day to day lives.



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Sunday, 15 August 2021

Exploring Creative Writing With Your Child

 

Whether your child is a natural storyteller or not, exploring creative writing with them is a great way to improve their grammar, punctuation and help them use their imagination. As soon as your child can write a sentence, you can begin exploring creative writing with them.

 


How to begin creative writing with small children

 

A good exercise is to discuss books they enjoy. You can ask them questions about the characters and plot – this will get them thinking in a different way. Here are some good questions to ask:

 

·      Which character did you like best?

·      Was the ending of the story good?

·      Why was the ending good?

·      Can you think of a different ending?

 

When a child begins to think in this way, they realise that they’re also capable of storytelling and it can be quite exciting.

 

Helping your child write a story

 

Some children are full of stories – they tell them all day long. Others need a bit of help to get started. If your child isn’t a natural storyteller, give them some prompts to begin creating a character.  You can tell your child you’re going to ‘invent a character. Ask your child would they like their character to be a person or an animal…or even something else!

 

Now ask them all about their character – what do they look like? What is their favourite food? Where do they live? Is there anything in life that they’d wish for above all else? Now you have some basics, you can help your child tell a short tale based on their character. They can even illustrate their story.

 

For older children

 

Older children who show an interest in writing should be encouraged as much as possible. Discuss their efforts with them and help them to understand as much as possible about the plot – you can worry about spelling, grammar and punctuation later.

The most important part of storytelling is actually telling the story. 

 

Help your child by ensuring they know you’re taking them seriously. Provide a desk and a good light so they can work quietly. There are lots of writing clubs online where teens share and critique work. It’s also a good idea to encourage your child to enter some competitions as these often come with written critiques from professionals.

 

Students with English as a second language should definitely be encouraged to write creatively. Not just stories but also poems and songs. This International Study Centre utilises its highly qualified staff to ensure that students get every opportunity to expand their written English as well as their spoken.

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Friday, 13 August 2021

6 months of baby Bea

6 months, half a year old!!
I can't quite believe it.


It feels as though these 6 months have raced up to us and I'm not sure I'm ready for Bea to be six months old yet!

An ever-growing baby needs a constant supply of new clothes!


Bea is definitely my most smiley baby, she smiles at everyone, she very rarely cries, the only time she does is when I hand her over for someone else to hold whilst I pop to the loo or need to do something for the boys and she isn't quite ready to let me go!


Bea's favourites;
Boob milk,
Banana,
Cuddles, 
Being outdoors,
Baths,
Sweet Potato,
Her Jellycat bumblebee.


Her eyes are slightly turning green,
Her hair is blonde/auburn depending on what light you look at it in.
She is trying very hard to get up into the crawling position.






We have officially started weaning, I tried a little BLW as that was how I weaned the boys but Bea chokes when she gets a lump of food. So it's safer and less stressful to do purees with her at the moment.
She is really enjoying discovering new tastes.
I bought a fruit dummy, which I can give different types of fruits in without her choking on them.
She really loves melon, strawberries, apricots but her favourite is definitely banana.

She's also a big fan of hummus. 
I need to get her some nice weaning accessories, as currently, I am just using an old little bowl I can find in my parents' cupboards.


I am now 6 months postpartum and Im now looking at losing all the extra baby weight/lockdown weight I put on.
I am making sure I do 10,000 steps a day and have replaced my dinner with a green super smoothie, which is made with avocado, basil, apple and spinach. So far I have lost 5lb.



I still find myself staring at her in awe and thanking my lucky stars for her.
She really has completed our family!