What if we looked at tax credits as a subsidy?

There have been a wide range of expressed opinions about tax credits with the House of Commons and the House of Lords expressing theirs as well as the media and public.
It is not disputable that tax credits cost the taxpayer billions every year.  However, most of those who are receiving tax credits are taxpayers.  Taxpayers who want to work, who enjoy working but might need a bit of short-term assistance. (more…)

Review of Dry Kids waterproof trousers

We have a lovely woodland behind our house that Alex and I enjoy exploring when the older ones are at school.  We always wear our wellies to go squelching in the mud and jumping in muddy puddles but Alex’s trousers would inevitably end up mud-splattered and wet.

So I was thrilled to be sent Dry Kids waterproof trousers for Alex.  With the weather turning to wetter and muddier, it was perfect timing. (more…)

Stress free Cleaning Tips for Busy Mums

When you work and have children, cleaning can seem to be a never ending job that is impossible to get on top off. The first thing is to realise is that your house is not going to look spotless while the children are awake. In fact, it probably won’t look spotless when they are in bed. However, by being organised, you can feel as though the housework is manageable.  So here are my stress free cleaning tips for busy mums.

Tidying and Cleaning in the Evening

Anyone with children will know that there isn’t much point trying to tidy while they are playing because as soon as you put a toy away, they will be at the other end of the room getting more out. It is frustrating and exhausting. So, I wouldn’t even bother tidying toys while they are still playing. Even the ones that they’re not using because you know that as soon as you put a discarded toy away, they will suddenly want it. (more…)

My Interview on the Victoria Derbyshire Show

Since the budget, I have been concerned about the tax credit cuts and have written about the impact on low income families.  These views were heard on television this week when I took part on the Victoria Derbyshire show to discuss the proposed cuts with a couple of MPs and a member of the Lords.

I’ll admit to being petrified.  It was a live show and there was no rehearsal of questions.  I knew there was a real possibility to look very stupid on national television.  However, I also wanted to convey my opinions on tax credits in the hope that someone may sit up and listen.  After all, if nobody speaks out, nothing changes.  We all need to have our voices heard by those in power. (more…)

Non-resident parents who avoid paying for their responsibilities

Last week, two women won their fight to have their ex-husbands’ income and assets re-assessed and their settlement to be re-examined.  Alison Sharland, 48, and Varsha Gohil, 50, argued that their ex-husbands lied to judges about how much they were worth.

While these cases relate to divorce payments, since becoming a single mum, I have been shocked by how many ex-partners make no or little payments to support their children.  Looking at the Government’s own figures show that in just 60% of CSA cases, the non-resident parent is paying 90% or more of the amount of child support.  In other words 40% of CSA cases are paying less than they should be. (more…)

Taking a step back and breathing

I haven’t written a blog post for a few weeks and for the first time, my excuse is not that I have been too busy.

For the last 6 weeks, I have reduced my employed days to just once a fortnight.  Yes, I know that’s hardly anything and just typing that makes me feel lazy.  So what have I been doing instead? (more…)

Failing and succeeding as a work-at-home mum

For the last four years, I’ve been mixing being employed and self-employed while having children at home. It has been crazy at time. No, let me correct that. It’s been crazy most of the time.

But, Monday marked a major change.   Firstly, Nathaniel started school full-time.  Secondly, Alex has started his 15 hours free childcare.  Plus, I’ve reduced my employed hours drastically – to 1 day a fortnight – so I am categorising myself as a work-at-home mum.

Which all meant that this week was the first time that I can remember when I had no children at home and could focus on work for a full five hours.  I admit that I had been looking forward to that day for a few months, so I was quite excited for a day of peace, quiet and productivity. (more…)

Ten tips to declutter your home

With September being an exciting new point in my life – see September’s New Start – I decided to sort out my home by decluttering to produce a tidy and fresh living space.

I am loving the difference that decluttering and simplifying has made to not only my home, but also my mind and mood each day.  So here is how I decluttered my messy home,photos of the end result and my ten tips to declutter your home. (more…)

A Poem to my Son for Starting School

Nathaniel school

I still can’t believe that Nathaniel started school this week.  It had been a bit stressful after several meltdowns when the word ‘school’ was mentioned, but Nathaniel has now been at school for 3 days and, although he’s not thrilled about going, he seems to have come around to the idea.

For me, education is far more than levels and grades.  It is about growing and developing as a person.  Learning is more than subject knowledge.

Here is my poem to my son, for starting school, to express this: (more…)

How the Budget Will Affect Working Parents

tax credits and budget 2015More than a month since the Budget and I think I may be finally getting my head around it.  The main point to the budget was, according to the Conservatives, “to make work pay”, yet the biggest losers of the budget were hard-working, low income families as the focus was on cutting working benefits.

All over the country, working parents have been posting on social media their worries about how to make ends meet in the future and yet, I worry that there is even worse to come.


My Vision Board

Since finishing the term and being on my Summer Holidays, I have felt very unmotivated to do my self-employed work.  I think that I have totally fallen into the holiday mode.  But, being self-employed now, means that I can’t afford to do no work over the holidays.  So, to focus myself on what I want to achieve by being self-employed and why, a friend suggested I made a vision board.

What is a vision board?  It is a visual representation of all the things that you want to do, be, and have in your life – basically, your dreams and goals – so that you can look at it regularly and remind yourself of where you are heading and why.  However, I wanted mine to focus not just on my goals but also my values and beliefs of how I should live my life.


I’m sorry that I am a blight on society

blight on societyIt’s the day of the budget and I know that I will be one of the ones that the Government is going to target.   Yes, I am on their radar as being a drain on society.  In fact, I tick many of their targeted boxes:

  • I’m a single mum
  • I have more than two children – five dependents to feed and clothe
  • I have recently deliberately reduced my employed working hours
  • I will only be working 16 hours a week which is mostly through self-employment
  • I will be under the tax threshold in September
  • I claim child tax credit
  • I claim working tax credit
  • I claim housing benefit
  • I claim disability living allowance for my daughter


7 ways that Facebook is bad for friendships

The growth of social media in recent years has resulted in us being able to build relationships with those we haven’t seen for a long time and helps to maintain relationships over distance.  However, social media can also result in spiralling  negative emotions that can negatively impact on relationships.

7 ways that Facebook is bad for friendships (and your self-esteem):

1.  A very close friend has posted a major announcement.  Why didn’t she tell me first?  I thought we were close.  How can she tell the world, most of whom are practical strangers, before she told me?  Do I mean nothing to her?  Guess we are not as close as I thought we were.   (more…)

September’s New Start

new startI can almost touch the finishing line, or should I say the starting line?

Since I resigned from my teaching job, I have been getting increasingly excited about September and the new start that it offers.

I will be able to take Hannah and Nathaniel to school each day, as well as attending nativity plays and sports days.

I will be able to spend quality time with just Alex.  I’m really looking forward to being able to join some new groups with him and visit new places, although it is going to be strange to just have one child with me.

As for work – I do still need to work to bring in the pennies – I have lots of ideas but am not sure which ones will make it to the short list.  So far, the long list consists of: (more…)

Nathaniel’s home birth story

Yesterday was Nathaniel’s 4th birthday and I still can’t believe how quickly those years have gone by.  Birthdays make me think back to their birthing days, so here is Nathaniel’s home birth story.


From Sunday 8th May, I was feeling poorly. Headaches, shivering, sore throat and generally not quite right. But I had another week and a half at work, so decided that it was just late pregnancy aches and pains and tried to keep going. Have to say that I was in bed by 5pm on the Monday though as felt that I had flu.


Why you may think I’m a cruel mother

Cruel motherThere are bad things in this world and bad things happen to everybody at some point.

Every child and childhood has problems and difficulties along the way.  Some children may get more than their fair share and some problems may be bigger than others but I believe we have to treat them in the same way.

As a parent, we have to understand our child is hurt, listen and offer support.  But we shouldn’t allow that problem to shape them or to become an excuse for bad behaviour, not achieving or giving up.

Part of my job as a parent is to help my children have the strength to deal with the problems that they will encounter in life.  I will support them but I will not be their crutch or allow them to have excuses.  They have to develop means of surviving by themselves in that big bad world.


Two years ago, my world fell apart

Two years ago, my world fell apart.  (At least that’s what I thought at the time.)  I’ve never written it down and not even all of my friends know everything, but here it is.

On Saturday the 4th of May 2013, I went to teach my Daisy Birthing classes as usual on a Saturday afternoon.  Everything had been the same as normal in the morning.  I was 33 weeks pregnant and looking forward to the birth of my sixth baby to complete our family, my children were happy and we had eaten lunch together.

Turning my phone back onto volume on the way home from teaching, I had many missed calls and answering machine messages.  Listening to the messages from Kaiya, who was 13 years old, made my heart stop.   (more…)

Food shopping on a tight budget

Food shopping on a tight budgetNow that I have resigned from teaching – see my reasons here – I’ve had to take another look at my budget.

I usually pride myself on being careful with money but in September, with less money coming in, I will have to be even more careful.

I typically spend £85 a week on a main shop – food, cleaning products, toilet roll etc – plus another £10-£15 a week to buy fresh items as needed.  I don’t feel that’s too bad for a family of six, but it is a total of £100 a week which is a large amount of my budget.   (more…)

Why I’m leaving teaching

why i'm leaving teachingSince primary school, all I wanted was to be a teacher.  I wanted to be the person that inspired children not just to read but to enjoy reading; the teacher who taught with a passion for her subject and commitment for her students.

For the last ten years, I have taught English to hundreds of secondary school children and I have loved having those moments when a child grasps a new concept or writes a creative piece they didn’t feel they were capable of.


How I survived a six year old’s birthday party

glitter tattoos 3After a couple of weeks panicking about Hannah’s upcoming 6th birthday party, I am glad to say that I have survived it.  In fact, it was relatively easy.

Two days after posting The Panic of Organising a Child’s Birthday Party, I spent an hour on the phone to various companies asking for some help with a girls’ birthday party.  I found that they fell into two camps – ones who were fully booked and ones who were ridiculously priced.  Fortunately, I found Fantasy Castles who had free spaces and reasonably, so I booked them and instantly felt a bit better about it all. (more…)

1 2 3