Archive of ‘Musings’ category

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…)

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…)

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…)

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.


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.


Being surrounded by inspiring women


Yesterday was International Women’s Day – a global day that celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  As a result, I have been thinking about women who have inspired me and continue to inspire me.

When I think of strong inspiring women, I don’t think of famous females on television, in sport, in politics or any other public place.  Instead, I find myself thinking of women who are around me and who I can relate to.   Some of them I may know in person and others just through the powers of the web. (more…)

When to start school?

There has been lots of debates this week in the news and on social media about the delaying the start of school for summer-born or premature children.  I have read them with interest as a teacher and a parent and these are my view on when to start school.

The first thing that stuck out for me is how many parents didn’t seem to be aware that they could delay their child starting school.  Legally, a child doesn’t have to start until the September after they are five years old, however, it is generally accepted that children start school the September after their fourth birthday.  In fact, parents are actively encouraged to apply for a school place for their four year old by receiving application forms through the post with deadlines to apply by. (more…)

The perfect painting for me

It’s a bit late but Valentine’s Day came and went without any dramas. In fact, I had a lovely day as spent in with some very dear friends.

With regards to buying myself something to mark my new start in life after divorce, I decided to buy a painting to go in my new decorated lounge.  The choice of a painter was quite easy as I had always admired a painting that hung above the sofa of a friend of mine and knew that I wanted one of his paintings in my house too.


First Valentine’s Day after divorce

It’s Valentine’s Day in less than a week!

My first Valentine’s Day after divorce and what would have been my 20th Wedding Anniversary.

Yes, I got married on Valentine’s Day.  A lovely romantic idea – a wedding on February 14th.  Until you get divorced, then it is a little less pleasant when you see red roses and hearts everywhere reminding you of not just one but two special dates. (more…)

My word of the year – Believe

It is now February – where did January go? – so I’m a bit behind but along with a long list of New Year Resolutions, I have chosen a word to inspire me this year.  It has taken me some time to think of that word as one word never seemed enough.  But I’ve finally settled on:


Just a simple word, yet for me, I feel it says everything that I want 2015 to be. (more…)

15 Best Things about Being Single

best things about being single

Having been in a relationship for twenty years – my whole adult life – it felt a little strange to be single at first.  But nearly two years since our separation, I am incredibly happy to be single so I have written a short list of the best things about being single.   That’s not to say that being single is better than being married – obviously there are good and bad bits of both – but this is my list of why I’m happily single: (more…)

How many children is too many?

With 6 children, I usually feel as though my family is on the large side (and most of my friends and family would agree).  However, after watching ’16 Kids and Counting’ recently, I found myself feeling that my family is small and it isn’t often that I say that!

So, how many children is too many?  I know some would say that I have too many.  Afer all, six is not the average number of children in the UK.  In fact, only 14% of families with children have three children or more (according to the ONS) so I must be in a very small minority that has six or more.  Does being in the minority mean that the majority feel that I have too many children?  Or do they feel that six would be too many for them? (more…)

Looking forward to 2015


Now that it’s 2015 and after my Looking back at 2014 post, I want to look forward.   It is not healthy to keep looking backwards – your neck starts to ache and you may miss something fantastic in front of you.

As I have discovered, you can’t plan things too much – life has a tendency to take twists and turns that you don’t always expect – but I will hopefully have less dramas than in 2013 and 2014, so I am going to make some goals for 2015. (more…)

Looking back at 2014

The last day of the year and the time when traditionally we look back.

When 2014 started, I had no idea that it would end so differently.   My year took some expected and some unexpected turns.

For example, I started the year married (although separated), owning my own home, running a couple of businesses, on maternity leave from my teaching post and living in Devon. (more…)

My Christmas present from my ex-husband

After 16 months of no contact, my ex decides to send me a message (via facebook) on the 23rd of December.  He could have messaged me any time from the 1st of September when the non-molestation order expired, but he chose to wait until two days before Christmas.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  If you have read my Domestic Violence post, you will know that he is manipulative.  Trying to spoil my Christmas is just typical of him.  But, I refused to let him and pushed it to the back of my mind.

Now that Christmas is over, I am starting to think about how to deal with it.  In a very long message, he states that he would like to see our younger three children in January or February, when he will give them his Christmas presents. (more…)

Domestic Violence

domestic violence

Domestic violence.  The words evoke a range of responses and perceptions.  Some may be a result of the media, widespread myths or personal experiences.

Personally, my idea of domestic violence was of a man who hit his wife on a regular basis.  I expect that many have this view.

I wasn’t in that type of relationship.  My ex-husband had never hit me. (more…)

Sleeping through the night

In those early months, after answering the questions on age, weight and name, mums often get asked, “Is your baby sleeping well?”

Then, there’s the conversation with other mums comparing how many hours your baby is sleeping with theirs.

And, as a result, mums often start to feel that your baby should be sleeping through.  I know because I have been there and I have seen mums in tears because their baby is not ‘being good’ by doing what the other babies are doing – sleeping 7pm to 7am. (more…)

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