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 We wish the two withdrawn Top 10 writers every success, both now and in the future!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
Cover design through our exclusive and copyrighted Cover…
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.
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!!!)
Not all children aspire to be in
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
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.
If you’re a MUM it’s time for YOU!
You not only deserve this
time for yourself but your child does too.
‘You’ are the most important person in your
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
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
A happy Mum, equals a happy, contented child.
That’s why, we should
never neglect or underestimate the importance of time for ourselves.
no time like the present!
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
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?
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.
appointment, order that book, enrol in that course, or book that table for you
and a friend.
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.
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!
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
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
It’s a learning process full of doubts, tears
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 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
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,
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
There’s no time like the present, and no
present like time!
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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.
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
Because before trying to manage our
childrens unwanted behaviour, we first need to examine what exactly is good and
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
She was obviously anticipating the
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
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
‘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
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?