• Parenting

    Enjoying Christmas without being good for Santa.

    There’s so much to love about Christmas. The efforts we make to spend time with those we love and check in with those we’ve not seen for a while. Shining lights brighten short winter days, while familiar festive favourites round an open fire warm our bodies and our hearts. But Christmas is an emotional time too. The joy of family gatherings and catching up with our nearest and dearest tinged with sadness as we remember those no longer celebrating alongside us. The weight of expectations, to produce the perfect meal, host the perfect party and source the perfect present. And for children, an added burden and pressure, as the chimes…

  • Living

    Why kindness is the ultimate superpower.

    Kindness can be loud and proud, an exuberant gesture of extreme generosity that wows a crowd. Or quiet and gentle, an unseen act melting the hearts of a solitary someone touched by tenderness. Sometimes mistaken for a weakness or condemned as an empty gesture, kindness is no easy option. In the face of provocation it’s hard to resist the fleeting sense of satisfaction that can come from lashing out in retaliation and spite. Yet the stakes are high as we risk damaging our connection to others and scarring our very souls. Kindness can demand extraordinary courage and a strong resolve. But there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that big…

  • Living

    You are enough (And why that’s so hard to believe)

    This is my entry for the writing contest: You Are Enough, hosted by Positive Writer.  http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-you-are-enough/ Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough? Worried any moment you’ll be exposed as a hopeless wannabe that can’t cut the mustard? Alone at our computer screens it’s easy to imagine everyone else has it all figured out. Yet we are far from alone. Wrestling with self-doubt is an occupational hazard. Agonising over every word, our insecurities looming, we’re easily ambushed by our negative thinking. Layers of anxiety and frustration, heaped upon doubt and despair threaten to keep us from writing at all. Yet this isn’t just a personal failing. It can affect any…

  • Learning

    Decided to home educate? 5 steps to get you on your way.

    Deciding to home educate your children is exciting and wildly terrifying at the same time. There’s been soul-searching and sleepless nights. Worry and fear about what could go wrong if you leave school and if you don’t. You’ve spent a long time thinking about home education and now you’ve made the decision, you just want to get on with it. Here are my top five steps to get you started. Deregistration letter. If your child is registered at a school then you need to get their name removed from the school register. It’s important you do this in writing. For a useful template with the appropriate legal wording, visit this page and…

  • Living

    Reminders to be kinder : 7 fun ways to help you exercise those kindness muscles every single day (and be calmer and more patient too )

        Kindness is a gift. And like all the best gifts, it doesn’t matter if you’re giving or receiving, that warm fuzzy glow feels great. The benefits of kindness are huge. Yet some days, life just happens. We get busy, side-tracked and overwhelmed. And then we forget. On those days we could all use a reminder to be kinder. And today, just for you, I’ve got 7 of them. Some are physical reminders while others are habits we can build into our daily routines. All of them help to sew kindness right into the fabric of our day and help pull us back from the brink when we feel those…

  • Learning

    Supporting natural learning : A step by step guide.

    Natural learning happens, well… naturally! As humans we’re meant to learn. It’s a lifelong process; an evolutionary design to give us the best chance of survival. We see this clearly in babies as they learn to walk and talk – they learn incredibly complex actions with no need for formal instruction, through a process that is highly efficient. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are many ways that we can support our children with natural learning and much that can get in its way. In the eight years that our family has been home educating I’ve seen many times how these positive and negative forces can play out.…

  • Parenting

    Why I never tell my children off (or at least, I try not to…)

    It’s rude and disrespectful. It’s not a nice way to speak to anyone. It won’t help them learn how to communicate well with others. It’s not an effective way to influence their behaviour. Most importantly though, I value my relationship with my children and I want them to feel safe and secure in their relationship with me. If they make a mistake I want them to talk to me.  I want to support them when they need it and for them to feel confident that I’ll help them look for ways to make things better… from clearing up spilt milk to supporting them as adults. If we see our children, or…

  • Living

    The power of five – A simple mind trick to get you started.

    Some days even the simplest tasks seem impossible. Our to-do lists are spiraling out of control and we just don’t know where to start. The feeling of overwhelm begins to engulf us and we feel a rising sense of panic. There is just too much to do and not enough time to get it done. Baby steps, or the art of breaking activities down into smaller, more manageable chunks is a brilliant way to simplify even the most daunting of jobs. But even this baby stepping lark can feel too complicated sometimes. And what about those times when the demon deed that torments you is so straightforward, but you’re lacking…

  • Learning

    Thinking of home educating?

    Once upon a time… we found ourselves contemplating the idea of home education. For our family it was the first step of an amazing journey. With the benefit of hindsight, there really was no turning back for us. Home education had presented itself as an actual, real-life, legal and practical possibility and life would never be quite the same again. At the time, of course things felt less clear. We began searching in earnest for anything we could find out about the subject and pondered long and hard about whether this ‘home ed’ lark really was such a great idea. There are lots of fantastic resources out there with huge…

  • Parenting

    The worst parenting advice ever? You can’t be their friend.

    I love reading parenting books and blogs and spend a lot of time thinking about how I can get better at this parenting lark. Over the years I’ve heard and read loads of great advice that I’m sure has encouraged and supported me to be a better parent, and has certainly helped me traversing some pretty tricky waters. But so too have I heard some shockingly bad advice about caring for children, often masquerading as good old common-sense. While pondering the good and bad that’s helped or hindered me over the years, I came up with a pretty long list of ideas that have been unhelpful and potentially damaging. But there was one…