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#IndieApril: Our Top 10

Wishing on a star!

Our #IndieApril competition came to a close on May 31, 2019, and so we have spent the past few days going over the near-hundred different entries and finalising our Top 10.

However, sadly, we have had two of our finalists withdraw from the competition, but thankfully for the very best reason: they have received interest from an external publisher and therefore cannot have their book in-process elsewhere. And so, with that said, our Top 10 has become a Top 8. We wish the two withdrawn Top 10 writers every success, both now and in the future!

To recap, this competition offers no small prize for the winner. You can find details here but, in a nutshell, the winning writer will become an author with Notebook Publishing, and receive book-publication comprising the following:

  • The Notebook Publishing exclusive Welcome Kit
  • Paperback availability
  • E-book-availability
  • Cover design through our exclusive and copyrighted Cover…

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Who Actually Gets Paid More A Footballer Or A Mathematician?

What a boring world it would be if we all liked doing the same things, the same way?

Without variety and differences conversation would soon dry up.

Yet we still expect our children to endure subjects that just don’t interest them.

One day I believe or should that be, I hope, the school curriculums will include more variety and options. Offering more choice for children, especially for those who aren’t naturally academic, to enjoy their learning, doing things that inspire and motivate them.

Hidden Talents

A lot of current issues that are happening on our streets today concerning children and crime, I believe, are due to children not feeling unique and special as they are, with the abilities they’ve been given. A lot of children don’t realise their true potential or hidden talents because they haven’t been given the chance to discover them. Many children feeling overlooked or rejected by a school system that makes them feel less than what they really are.

Times have changed and the way we teach and treat our children needs to change too.

We have to be more creative in our approach. Allowing for more sporting and artistic talents to be a part of the school curriculum, giving them equal emphasis and recognition as the more traditional core subjects.

I mean who actually gets paid more, a footballer or a mathematician?

You do the math? (I was never good at that subject in school…oops… Thanks to Mr Jones, there pops up my biggest self-limiting belief again!!!)


life is about being happy and healthy, not unhappy and wealthy!

Not all children aspire to be in intellectual careers.

Most just want to enjoy what they do using their hands and creativity, such as flower arranging, making fancy cupcakes or building impressive structures, such as those that house schools. Life is about being happy and healthy, not unhappy and wealthy. Money and future aspirations aside, its about how our children are experiencing life right now at school.

All the GCSE’S in the world, won’t empower our children in the future and make them happy. In today’s world they aren’t even a guarantee of job security either.

Happiness is a state of being cultivated from a young age.

We come to expect what we get and get what we expect as we grow older.

Happy optimistic children, who follow their own dreams and enjoyment, succeed and find rare opportunities, that are otherwise hidden from those clutching at hard earned grades, who settle for a safe job for the sake of money, in fear of failure or lack.

Some children just can’t stand sitting in a classroom, memorising facts that are of no relevance to them. However, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taught these subjects, alongside the things they do enjoy learning.

We just have to find more interesting ways, to make those subjects that they dislike, more enjoyable. We can start by fuelling their passion. Encouraging them in those areas they enjoy and are good at, and by finding each child’s preferred learning method. Some simply prefer a more hands on approach rather than theory.

After all, life is about putting learning into practice. Little use knowing what to do but not knowing how to do it, is there?

So, money and future aspirations aside, lets focus on the present and on how our children are experiencing life right now.

Stay Present,

Em x

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What Will You Be Doing This Mother’s Day?

Mothering Sunday is days away.

A chance to spoil our Mums if we are lucky, or remember them and all the good times they gave us if they are no longer with us.

But its also a time for us to get spoilt too!

Even if its only breakfast in bed, time to relax in a bath full of bubbles, read a good book in the garden or buy ourselves a new outfit.

Its the simple things in life that mean the most!

If you’re a MUM it’s time for YOU!

U COME FIRST

You not only deserve this time for yourself but your child does too.

 ‘You’ are the most important person in your child’s life.

Anyone who has ever flown on an aeroplane will be familiar with the safety drill, where the Stewardess asks you to make sure you put on your own safety vest and masks, before your children’s or anyone else’s.

Taking care of ‘You’ is a priority because if you don’t, then you won’t be able to care for your child or anyone else.

Yet many of us selfless Mums still think it’s ok to put the needs of others, especially our children’s, before our own.

We are not being selfish by taking care of our own needs before anyone else’s, it’s essential.

If we take care of our own needs and wellbeing and pursue our own interests, then not only our own happiness, health, and success will be positively affected but noticeably our children’s too.

Nothing beats a good book and a bath!

A happy Mum, equals a happy, contented child.

That’s why, we should never neglect or underestimate the importance of time for ourselves.

LET’S BEGIN

And there’s no time like the present!

We needn’t wait for Mother’s Day, right now is as good a time as any to begin. So, before we go any further grab a notebook, pen, and a cuppa and let’s start our U Time now by taking some time to reflect on how we would like to spend our special day this Sunday?

As they say;

‘No plan is a plan to fail!’

So, let’s write down some ideas and make it a concrete promise to ourselves.

Who else wants time just for themselves to;

  • Have a bath?
  • Read a book or magazine?
  • Watch a Film or Box Set?
  • Enjoy a glass of wine?
  • Go out for a meal?
  • Visit the cinema or an Art Gallery?
  • Go for a massage, manicure, facial or acupuncture?
  • Have a new Hair Style?
  • Go for a Makeover?
  • Take up a new hobby?
  • Start an Educational Course?
  • Write, Paint, Play an instrument or sing?
  • Work out at the gym?
  • Meditate or try Yoga?
  • Participate in a sport?
Relax it’s YOUR Special Day!

There are so many ways to make your day special, so start dropping those hints to your partners or children (if they are old enough) now. Give them time to arrange a treat you really want, because they know you’re worth it.

If you don’t have anyone able to treat you, then go treat yourself now.

Make that appointment, order that book, enrol in that course, or book that table for you and a friend.

MAKE EVERYDAY SPECIAL

U time doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions such as Mother’s Day though.

We can make our whole life more enjoyable, if we use our time doing things that we like and want to do.

If we’re honest, doing anything other than that is a waste of our precious time.

It’s pointless only ever enjoying time for yourself just because its Mother’s Day, and enduring 364 days of tending to the needs and desires of everyone else.

It’s like living for the weekend to arrive or our summer holidays, in order to relax and be happy.

This just robs us of the opportunity to live and enjoy life to the fullest.


It’s living less than half a life.

Let’s meditate on that for a moment.

If we could only plan our lives like we do Christmas or our summer holidays, then all that attention to detail, time, energy, money, and motivation to make it good, would create a fabulous life.

Decide now not to reserve those fun times for special occasions, celebrations or holidays.

It’s about enjoying and appreciating every day, including those ordinary boring days like today, when nothing extraordinary or special is happening…. just your life!

Your time is the present, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Birthday Dylan

I have to thank you Dylan. You were easy from the start.

Easy conception, easy pregnancy, easy birth and easy to love.

Today on this special 13th birthday, celebrating you becoming a teenager, I also want to thank you for making me a more present parent.

First time around, as a new mum everything’s new and frightening. You just don’t really know what to expect or know what you are doing?

It’s a learning process full of doubts, tears and fears!

So caught up in dirty nappies, sleepless nights and parenting anxiety, it’s hard to enjoy those first few years as a new mum.

But by the second child most of us are feeling a bit more confident, but alas, sadly for some, complacent and busy.

You taught me how to enjoy being a mum. And how to appreciate every minute as special.

Your love makes ordinary moments most would take for granted, as precious and unique.

You made me notice them.

You made me present to the joy of being a parent and of being your Mum. A privilege I’ll always hold dear.

Such as the time when you were just three years young. I was taking you to the Dentist, when as we were holding hands and crossing the road, out of the blue you said;

 ‘I love you Mum.’

I can still remember to this day, thinking that this was such a good moment in my life.  I wanted my mind to photograph it forever, so that when we were both older, we could look back upon that ordinary moment, with fondness.

A great time, when we were both truly present together, enjoying one another’s company.

We were just going about our daily business. Yet, it was such an extraordinary, emotional moment for me. So much so that, I can still feel those positive, loving, warm, fuzzy feelings deep inside me, whenever I recall that moment now.

Even now, you still greet me on the school yard every day with a kiss, hug, pat on the back and a ‘I love you.’

I know I’ve said you don’t need to do that in public now, in case it’s embarrassing?

And you said ‘No I want to. It’s not embarrassing’.

And I melt inside with pride, that you are not afraid to openly show your love.

I don’t know what I have done to deserve such beautiful, loving children but I’m glad I’ve be blessed with you both.

As normal and mundane as a trip to the dentist with your child may sound, I can guarantee that in years to come, you too will realise how special those everyday moments in time really are. Even if those moments do not feel like it today.

One day, those simple everyday memories, will be where you will linger longingly, wishing you could go back to. 

Noticing, appreciating and being fully present in those moments we are spending with our children today, is what Present Parenting is all about. Because one day those moments, will be some of the best moments in our lives.

They truly are priceless, irreplaceable nuggets of time.

Time we all too often take for granted, because we are disillusioned by the concept that, the work and worries that occupy our minds, are the things that need our attention the most. Yet, neither now nor in the future, will anyone or anything, ever bring us the joy, fulfilment or happiness that our children do.

It’s who we are with, and the love and time we give that counts! 

If today was the only time we had left on Planet Earth, chances are we would not want to clean our house or work overtime, schmoozing our boss for a pay rise?

Chances are, we would want to spend our time with our loved ones?

Having fun and letting them know how much we love them. While appreciating, how much we too, are loved by them.

We don’t always remember the dates or details in life, but we always remember how we felt. This is what our children will always remember too.

It doesn’t matter what we have or achieve in life, it’s all a waste of time, it’s who we are with and the love and time we give, that counts! 

Childhood doesn’t last forever. When our children reach their teens, it’s going to be too late to regret, not having had the time to; paint, play, cook, read, sing, dance and enjoy our time with them, while young.

Make the most of now, and start to live in and enjoy each and every moment with your child, from now on. 

Tomorrow is promised to no one, stay present and be generous with that time.

If you knew this was your last day ever with your child, you would hang on to their every word and not waste a single second of that time. Always keep in mind, one day will be the last day you spend together.

There’s no time like the present, and no present like time!

Happy Birth- days!

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How Do You Banish Your Blues?

We all get bad days.

Days when we wonder why we bother?

Days when we don’t feel in the mood.

Days when nothing seems to be going right or everything seems to be going wrong!

Days when we just want to be left alone.

But as parents we have to bother. We have to get ourselves in the mood. We have to put things right, even when things seem to be going wrong. And there’s no such thing as being left alone. Not even to use the toilet!

Often when the going gets tough, the only choice we have, is to get going.

Get Going

When I’m having one of those days, the first thing I do is ask myself is it really all that bad?

I woke up this morning and had food to eat, a family and pets who (annoying and testing as they maybe at times) love me. I have a job. I have a few friends. So, I have enough reasons to bother.

But this usually isn’t enough, when it’s one of those really BAD days!

We take all that everyday stuff and people for granted.

We notice there’s always something missing, not yet done or someone’s to blame.

We feel angry, frustrated, anxious or guilty?

But we are never going to make ourselves feel better by making ourselves feel bad.

On days like these I make a point of getting out in the fresh air to suck in some vitamin D. I move my body to get myself physical and out of my head.

Eat Clean

I eat healthily.

Usually when we are having a bad day, we either starve ourselves because we feel sick with worry and anxiety or we console and comfort ourselves with unhealthy, high calorie food and drinks. But this only makes us feel worse.

Instead clearing our heads with plenty of water, making a healthy home- made hearty soup, can help lift us up slightly. Even if it’s a placebo that makes us feel better because we feel we’ve done something positive for our body.

Detox Negativity Overload

Social media and the news tend to add to our woe is me. We either see all our so-called friends having such a wonderful time, doing amazing things?

Or we see the world as a really scary, bad place. Where bad circumstances are out of our control. Then the world’s problems add to our own.

But if we could read or listen to motivational, positive books or even watch some uplifting films or comedies and listen to music, we could shift our moods to a slightly better place.

Which is far easier and a lot more fun than wallowing in a bad day …. isn’t it?

What’s your favourite way to banish the blues?

What books / films/ songs/comedies lift YOU up on a bad day?

Caring is sharing, so let’s share the love and banish those rainy day blues!

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Terrifying Toddlers & Other Childish Behaviour

Very young children, such as those ‘Terrifying Toddlers’ can’t control themselves. Can’t be controlled by others. And can’t always understand rules and routines to begin with. 

We have to be patient and persist with our rules and routines, until they learn them.

Until then, as parents we have to; stop trying to stop or control their tantrums.

The Tantrum

As long as they are not harming anyone, including themselves, we can feel free to just leave them to it, while they tantrum it out of their system.

We should never avoid people, places or situations, through fear of the dreaded tantrum.

If we do, this means that our children’s behaviour is controlling us.

We have to show them that we are not going to be controlled. If we are worried that they may misbehave or embarrass us, then we will never be able to coach them in public, positively or effectively. Fear and embarrassment, are the main culprits for many parents losing control and shouting, smacking or nagging relentlessly.

We are not perfect parents (no one is) but as Confident, Proactive and Present Parents, we can allow our children the freedom to tantrum.

If we remain calm and un-phased, they will soon learn that there’s no point in carrying on anymore and will act appropriately. 

We just need to watch their non -verbal and verbal cues, to warn us when a tantrum is about to erupt. Often the best thing to do is offer a gentle distraction, while we try to figure out what is behind that particular episode and how best to communicate with them.

Distraction & Love

If distraction fails then, we can simply do nothing except, acknowledge to them we are aware that they are upset. While letting them know that, we cannot help them while they are having a tantrum. Reassuring them that, this frightening reaction they’re experiencing will soon end. And we will be there to talk to them and try to help them, when they have finished.

Then if it is safe to do so, we can walk away and let them tantrum it out alone, until they come to us for a cuddle afterwards.

Our children fight for our attention any way that they can. If the negative approach doesn’t seem to be working, they’ll soon come to us for some love.

Children are Childish

When they realise, they are not getting the attention that they desire, they will soon become bored and stop of their own accord. We shouldn’t take it personally though or hold a grudge against them. It’s a childish way of venting their frustration but it’s the only way that they know how to.

Misbehaviour and tantrums, are just signs that can help us to find the source of the problem. If we can treat them as clues as to how our children are feeling, and find out why they feel this way? This can better help us to help them.

These outbursts can be very valuable in understanding and connecting with our children. As long as we can be proactive and take them in this way, instead of trying to stop them.

When we are ill, our body cries out in pain to let us know that something is wrong and needs our attention. It’s the same for our childrens tantrums, they are our childrens way of trying to tell us, they need help with something that they can’t cope with alone.

We just have to listen and Stay Present!

Em x

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Muddy Puddles

Anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes in the company of a three year -old will know, that their favourite question is ‘Why?’

And do you know why?

Let me share a story that happened several years ago, which helped me to gain a clearer understanding on my definition of good and bad behaviour, that will also help us to answer that question.

Because before trying to manage our childrens unwanted behaviour, we first need to examine what exactly is good and bad behaviour?

One day, after nursery school, I was saddened to drop off a tiny three-year-old boy (he really was tiny for his age) that I cared for to his house.

There stood his Mother on the door step in floods of tears, as she greeted me apprehensively with; ‘How’s he been today?’

She was obviously anticipating the worst.

I relayed the information his Teacher had asked me to pass on, that, he had been cheeky and answering the teachers back, and had another ‘bad day again’ at nursery. 

I personally thought, this young boy was a bright and inquisitive three-year-old. Neither naughty nor bad. Despite the fact, he had also answered me back a number of times that day when we were at the park.

I recalled as we were walking home, I had told him not to jump in the muddy puddles, to which he persisted in asking me;

‘Why not?’

Not one to answer with ‘That’s why!’

I exhausted every answer to his constant question; ‘But why?’ with answers such as;

‘Because you will get wet’

‘Because you’ll feel uncomfortable’

‘Because your Mum will be mad at you’

‘Because you’ll dirty your uniform’

‘Because you may catch a cold’

‘Because I said so!’

Until eventually, I had to stop and ask myself;

‘Why not let him jump in the muddy puddles?’

I soon found myself thinking; ‘It will not harm anyone really. We can always dry off and change our clothes afterwards. We get wet when it rains anyway and we don’t always catch a cold. Besides, it looks like lots of fun, so why not?’ 

It then dawned on me that this small boy constant probing for an answer to his question ‘But why not?’ was not cheeky back chat at all.

It was his way of genuinely trying to find the answers, to why he could not do it?

My reasons, such as he would get wet, seemed obvious and silly to him. Of course he would. That’s why he wanted to do it, that was all part of the fun. My excuses defied his logic, and that was the reason that made him persist with his questioning.

And it was his ingenious questioning, that led me to question the restraints that we put on ourselves and our children, each and every day.

If no one questioned things, progress would never happen in life. Science would not exist, and we would all be conditioned to do what we were told. Following others mindlessly, regardless if right or wrong or whether something makes sense or not. 

It’s the same for our children, if they don’t question people or things in life, then they won’t be able to find the answers and progress.

That is the beauty of our young and innocent children, when we say ‘You can’t do that’ they ask ‘Why?’

Not necessarily because they are answering us back and being rude, but because they know that what we are saying they cannot do, is possible.

We unwittingly condition our children to accept our rational reasons as right, when actually some of them are absurd. If our children break or question our rules, this does not necessarily constitute bad or naughty behaviour, as in the muddy puddles example.

Often unwanted behaviour is misunderstood for being naughty, instead of being viewed as a child’s inquisitive, playful nature. The danger is, if some children do not conform or toe the line like everyone else, then they are classed as naughty instead of curious.

Sometimes we create rules for our children, that are not even our own rules.

Often, they are generic rules that have been passed down from our parents, teachers, friends or are deemed acceptable by society in general, and we don’t even question them. But that doesn’t always make them right. Just because something has always been a certain way, doesn’t mean that it should stay that way forever, or that everyone has to follow the same rules as everyone else. We need to remember this when implementing our own rules for our children to follow. 

Every time we tell our children that they cannot do or have something, we must first ask ourselves why not?

Do our reasons really make sense to both ourselves as well as our children?

Stay Present!

Em x