Review: Education Quizzes

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I guess my sons are typical boys. Teaching them in a classroom environment will only ever achieve so much. And now they are aged 7 and 10, there are certain strengths and weaknesses which seem to be coming out in their schoolwork.

Numbers. Numbers are fun for them. Give them any maths activity to do and they attack it with relish.

Words? Now they are a whole different matter.

Being  a journalist and blogger, you’d think my boys would take the same kind of joy from words as I do. But I guess we’re all different. They love storytelling and have colourful imaginations.

But the technical side of words – spelling, grammar, tenses, nouns, pronouns…….. start teaching them that stuff and their eyes roll back in their heads as they daydream about going out on their bikes.

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Rainbow Trust: Monica’s Story

rainbow

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity provides emotional and practical support for families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness. They offer the whole family individually tailored, high-quality support for as long as they need it.

Family Support Workers work with up to 25 families at any one time, providing help with whatever they need. Each family is unique, so the support offered is different for each one.  It is flexible and understanding. Family Support Workers work with families to help them cope in extreme and uncertain situations, so that they do not have to cope alone.

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Surviving Divorce

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If I felt grown up buying my first home, getting married, having kids….

It’s nothing compared to how grown up I feel getting a divorce.

Only this time, not in a good way. It’s something to survive.

Tackling the emotional and practical side of ending a marriage, is like negotiating a minefield in oversized clown shoes.

Because there was once two of you promising to stay together forever. There was once two of you making plans, putting your trust in each other…

And then it all blew up in your face.

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Making the most out of your car insurance

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Insurance is a pain, expensive and not the most exciting thing to spend your time or money on.

If you want to save, you’ve got to be smart.

Being approached by car dealership Carspring made me realise that with just some small changes, you can hugely cut your car insurance costs.

Here are eight surprisingly easy tricks to beat the insurers and save your cash for the more exciting things in life.

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Making a bedroom into Mum’s zen place

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Sometimes the stress of parenting means all you want to do is go and have a lie down in a darkened room…

But I’ve found that turning my bedroom into a haven of calm has helped a great deal in the last year.

My boys are getting big enough that they enjoy their own space. They have their own bedrooms, which they like to organise themselves, and spend lots of time in, being LEGO builders, den makers and creative crafters.

So they understand that since I’ve redecorated in the last few months my bedroom has become a grown-up space where kids are generally encouraged to knock if they need me – but I’m to be left alone if at all possible.

It’s just good to read a book, take a nap or even organise my wardrobe in relative peace and quiet.

There are plenty of bedroom decorating ideas online for inspiration.

But I’ve found the following rules have also helped me to create a space I really enjoy spending time in.

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Investing in your home’s interior

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Since becoming a single parent, I’ve had to watch the pennies a little closer than usual.

It’s made me realise that my spending needs to count. I can’t fritter away cash on things which won’t last.

That’s why I’ve been considering how to invest in our home, with furnishings which will look stylish in years to come, but also endure the punishment that two children bring!

Making a fresh start for me and the boys has been important, and brightening up our surroundings has really helped lift our mood at a difficult period in our lives.

Here’s five ways I’ve invested in our home’s interior, knowing that the money I’ve poured into decorating will last the test of time….

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A Word for 2016

strongwoman

Starting the year with a word to live by seemed a good idea last January.

And when I chose ‘acceptance’ I had no idea of the significance it was to have – as a short while after I wrote the original post, my husband announced our marriage was over.

Acceptance became a huge part of 2015, as I realised he’d started to move on months before he told me of his intentions to leave. There was nothing to fight for, no going back. A huge part of my life was finished.

Taking stock of the last 12 months, it was all about accepting… and learning to survive as a single parent.

I’ve looked back on 2015 with positivity, but there have been moments when the sadness swamped me. To tell the truth, it still does, as every so often a wave of “How the hell did I end up here?” hits me full in the face.

But I’m here. And putting one foot in front of the other is all I can do.

So what plans for 2016?

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Bouncing back from the festive excess

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Bleurgh! If you’re anything like me, you’ve lumbered into 2016 with all the grace of a drunken ostrich. Your stomach is flabby from too much festive eating, your skin is dry from the winter weather and your exhaustion is exacerbated by the continual night time that graces the chilly season.

Chances are your New Year’s resolution has been to get fit. But so far you’ve picked up a king-size chocolate bar every evening with your newspaper, gone home and watched reruns of Friends while lounging in your pants!

If the disappointed face of your local newsagent isn’t enough to make you want to get back into shape, then do it for yourself.

With a New Year comes a new you, so they say – wouldn’t you prefer it if the new you didn’t feel lousy from overconsumption?

I’ve come up with a few tips to help you look healthier and get fit by the time Spring rears its sunny head. Take a look.

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Goodbye 2015… and thank you

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I lost my husband in 2015.

Sounds very careless of me, doesn’t it? Like I left him at the bus stop or something.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to belittle my marriage break-up. I guess I just use humour to cope with things.

But yes, when I look back at the year gone by, that’s probably the biggest event I’ll remember. That’s what 2015 has become in the milestones of my life. The year I ceased to be his other half and became “the ex”.

(And probably a lot of other, less-flattering descriptions which an impending divorce inevitably brings).

In the same way that old saying “Be careful what you wish for” tells us that an apparent blessing can be a curse, I’ve learned that what can appear to be a life-falling-apart disaster can bring with it so many gifts.

And it really is true that sometimes we don’t know what is best for us.

I’ve said a little this year about how life turned upside down, with a decision which was taken out of my hands, leaving very little option but to put one foot in front of the other.

As I journeyed through 2015, the landscape hasn’t been as bad as I feared.

Alongside the inevitable sadness, this past year has brought a lot to be thankful for.

And before I look forward to what 2016 might bring, it seems only fitting to send a big old thank you note to the last 12 months.

For the following gifts…

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What do your Christmas presents say?

gifts

When it comes to giving gifts, I hate to be predictable.

Socks, aftershave, bath salts…. they’re all very well but hardly memorable presents to endear you to friends and family.

I always like to pick items which say something about how I feel about them.

There are plenty of ideas in the shops which are either unusual or very personal to show that you care.

Here are some of the things I’ll be saying with my gifts this year.

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