What an Incredible Year!!! 

It has been a while since I have posted anything and this is because I have been on the most incredible journey, experiencing different things I can blog about and making new friends along the way. 

This post is, perhaps, a generic one because it doesn’t focus on one aspect and is more of a summary of what I have been involved in this year.

September 2016 I left my teaching job of twelve years to embark on a new journey.

 This new journey was supply teaching among other things but more importantly, for me, to have quality time with my beautiful daughter. She needed to come first for a change. 

The first couple of months from September to mid October was difficult. I was so used to being busy and have always worked, from the age of 15 and paid my own way. Probably younger than that if you count the pocket money for helping around the house doing chores. 

It was a shock to the system to not work and it really did have a negative impact on me for a while. The house, however, has never been sooo clean!!! 

I had a few days work here and there at the start of September thanks to a wonderful friend. The rest as they say is history.  I have had steady work with her school for the rest of the year. General cover, Pe (my subject) and secured seven weeks work in science.  She got me the foot in the door and I did the rest according to her.  I have been asked to come in time and time again and we will see you again next year. The feedback I have received from this school has made me feel so valued. Loved working there. 

Along side supply I became a Tiny Soccer Star coach, and I have loved every minute coaching 1 and two and half year olds and 3-4 years. I have loved watching their faces when the learn a new skill or do it better than they have ever done it before. 

I also decided to start a small business, Mighty Minds Book Shop by becoming an Independent Usborne Books organiser. It doesn’t bring a huge amount of money unless I build a team but I love doing it and it something different. It gives me a little extra pocket money and keeps my mind busy.  My daughter and nieces will never want for books again. 

This year has also made me realise how much school ptfas do. I joined my daughters school  thinking it will be a few evenings and daytime events here and there. I was overwhelmed at how much they do. The events, the organisation of events to help buy things for the students in the school. The list is endless.  I am in awe of the amount they do. It has been incredible to meet so many amazing and inspiring people. The time they put into the school is amazing. 

I consider myself to be Christian however my faith for various reasons has been well and truly tested for a few years. These are different stories to tell another time. 

My dearest and best friend who has been by my side for 17 years of my life, including being my maid of honour and accepting to be my daughters Godmummy, has seen me at my worst and at my best, I think.  She  asked me if I would like to volunteer for a Christian weekend called Shine UK. This is a weekend for girls to explore their faith, take part in different activities through the weekend, from slient discos to arts and crafts and fitness activities to name a few. 

I reculantly said yes. Knowing her faith was incredible compared to mine. However, it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have been volunteering as a Shine Angel for two years now and the team that organise the weekend, have asked me to become their activities coordinator this year. To say I feel blessed and humbled by this is an understatement. I, of course, said yes and this year I will embark upon the next chapter of my Shine journey. I can’t wait. 

I will definitely say I was more confident this time around and it was very noticeable. To the point of I was told you need to realise how good you are with young people. This coming from the lady who organises the weekend!! 

This will be my 3rd year. 

To say I admire the lady and team who organises Shine is the biggest understatement. I am in awe. They ooze faith, a peace and calmness I have known but been searching for again in my faith. Each and everyone of these incredible, phoneminal ladies, again having their own fights and battles while still remaining in God’s grace.

I must have proved my worth because I was asked to help out at Spree West Midlands this summer, by the lady who puts these weekends together. Again another Christian weekend for young people with football tournaments, laser tag, bushcraft, slient discos, work shops to name a few! 

Again, being the insane one, I agreed to do early morning circuits and jog at 7 am on both days, stretch and relax and core stability on fitballs on Saturday afternoon and some fitness sessions on the Sunday. Yes you read that correctly!!! Zzzzzzzz by Sunday evening ready for work Monday morning. 

By Saturday midnight I gave myself a target to beat from Shine. What’s the target I hear you thinking? Well it was to complete over 39,500 steps I managed at Shine!! 

Did I do it?

Well, not only did I reach that I smashed it completing 40,500 steps. I blame it on the silent disco and partying the night away. So I need to set a challenge for Shine in November!!!

I have now finished my first year of supply and nearly completed my first year of Tiny Soccer coaching as well as being an Independent Usborne Books organiser and being the PTFA at my daughters school. 

Am I happy?? The truth; absolutely yes. I may not have the steady income but it has taught me a valuable lesson- live to your means. The other lesson I have learnt, everything happens for a reason- God has a plan for me I didn’t know existed until now!! 

The time I have with my daughter is to be cherished. I no longer need to work all the hours to get data recorded, spend hours writing lessons plans and deep marking or writing reports. I go into the school do my job and come home. My mental health  is once again, good. I no longer feel I am rubbish at being a mother or teacher. I have the work life balance I always wanted after having my daughter. 

I am right where I should be at this moment in time. 

After all life is about making memories and cherishing every moment. Those that take your breathe away and those you need to learn from. 

I am a warrior princess. 


Mighty Minds Book Shop 

I won’t bore you with too much of my back story as to why I chose to join Usborne Books but I will tell you this:

I was a PE teacher for 12 years and I loved it. I still do in many respects. For the first 10 years it was my life! I lived, loved and breathed teaching. I did 5 clubs a week, fixtures, trying to make lessons as fun as possible so more girls like PE. 

Unfortunately the rat race of assessment, planning, deep marking, monitoring and hardly any work life balance took its toll. 

When my daughter was born, over 3 years ago and I returned to work, I found it hard. I dropped to part time and was working 7 days a week but getting paid for three. My work life and life changed the moment I held my beautiful daughter for the first time. I realised that my new job was to the be the best mum I could be to her. 

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. There are many mums who do work 7 days a week and are amazing mums, inspiring teachers and are mums with other professions that work long hours. 

I bow down to them.

Some of these amazing women, I consider some be good friends. I think the world of them for doing this and still being the best mum. I know some mums who have chosen to give up work and I bow down to you too. Too all of you.  You are completely amazing. 

I knew something had to change when the dreaded Ofsted phone call came. It was my day off with my daughter. I sat at the dining table working all day and night to try and prepare outstanding lessons, resources and have everything ready, but one thing still makes me feel so guilty about that day. It was a day I was supposed to have my daughter! She kept coming up to me and asking to play. I, stupidly, said I have to work. What a fool I  was. What would you have done?? It’s too late but I would welcome any ideas. 

For many reasons, I left teaching in September 2016.  I am now a supply teacher, Tiny Soccer Star Coach and have a little side business selling Usborne Books. I am so much happier. OK, granted I don’t earn as much as I used to and  I don’t get paid in the holidays. Work can be a bit sporadic too. This was one reason I  joined Usborne Books at Home. 

To bring in a bit of money in the holidays and where possible to top me up AND I wanted to try it! It was time to try things I wanted to try. As a friend put it a mum venture. 

Stock to display and sell. 

There are plenty more in my stock. 

I have access to amazing books for my daughter or use some to sell.  It depends on how you want to work your business. You can work your business in hours that suit you. I am still on a learning journey and really want to make a good go of this. 

I joined in November 2016, for £38 and you get £150 of books and stationary to start your business. I joined with a very good friend of mine and I am her mentor. We did it as a joint adventure and where it takes us. Well watch this space. 

What I enjoy about selling these books is getting to chat to new people, holding pop up stalls in different places, selling to friends, family and hopefully nurseries and schools. I also enjoy the perks. Free books. Half price ones and a business I can work around me and my family. 

My mum did a lot of her Christmas shopping. “wow, this saved me a lot of hassle, thank you”

However, you can’t beat seeing children’s faces when they get the books. 

One happy little customer

For me, education is important. I cherish the fact that I will have been able to educate my daughter to the best of mine and my husbands ability. Both through having a better work/ life balance, being able to be a mum and having access to fabulous books. 

If you are interested in knowing more about Usborne Books at Home please ask. 

You can also find me on Facebook: Mighty Minds Books Shop. 

This sums it up for me. 

After all I cherish spending time with my daughter, whether it is reading, playing or taking her to classes. Most importantly I want her to have as many amazing experiences as possible. 

After all it’s about making memories and the Usborne Books journey is definitely creating some amazing ones. 

Rock and Roll Soft Play 

I was looking for something for my daughters first birthday. We had a lot of people coming and thought doing something at home would be better. 
I googled soft play and found Rock and Roll Soft Play. I liked the fact that Karen had been hired for other functions like weddings and christenings not just birthdays. I read the reviews and was happy to see what she could offer. 

The thing that initially attracted me to the company was their unique animal theme. Once I had decided that this was what I wanted to go for I contacted Karen. 

To say she was helpful was an understatement. I was not sure which hire package to go for, the medium or the Ultimate Rock and Roll package. We had around twenty  1-5 year olds coming so I wanted to make sure they were all catered for and had a good time. 

The Ultimate Rock and Roll package is what I went for in the end, due to the numbers of children and Karen made sure that all ages would be kept entertained. This was my biggest worry. However, Karen put together a package of soft play equipment that did keep everyone entertained. Including this adults!!!! 

Prices vary from £80 to £120 pounds. Karen has just introduced the Dinosaur Rock package for any budding Ross Geller characters out there. It looks awesome by the way. 

The whole process for booking was easy. Once I had the date in mind I checked with Karen to see if the package I wanted was available. It was. I asked for her to reserve the date completed the booking form sent to me by email, returned the form and transfered the deposit. All in the space of two days. Closer to the time Karen emailed me to remind me I needed to pay the remaining balance even though I was on the ball and knew o had to sort this. Done and then it was time for the day to arrive. 

One of the aspects that was fabulous about Rock and Roll Soft Play was we had the equipment for pretty much the whole day. Karen set up at around half past eight to nine o’clock and collected the equipment around half past three to four. I thought this was brilliant. 

Fun in the sun

Example of the equipment that can be hired. 

Would I recommend Rock and Roll Soft Play?

Yes. I thought the value for money was excellent and we had the soft play equipment for pretty much the whole day. Karen has definitely spent a lot of time thinking about the theme for her company and what equipment she wanted. I think this shows. 

Her professionalism was excellent. She helped me decide what was best suited to the children I had coming and even added a few pieces of equipment for the older ones to use. Perfect. 

The only down side. I wish she had the Dinosaur Rock package earlier. My daughter loves them and this would certainly have been one I would have looked at. That said, I was still extremely happy with what we hired and this really made my daughters first birthday even more special. Thank you, Karen for helping to make it so. 

If you would like more information please go to their website http://www.rockandrollsoftplay.co.uk or find them on Facebook page Rock and Roll Soft Play. 

The areas that are covered are around the West Midlands area. Bedworth, Bulkington, Hinckley, Leicester, Rugby, Stratford, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and Warwick. 

Or if a franchise opportunity is something you may be interested in? You get everything you need. Equipment, flyers, insurance, website, help with marketing and the business from Karen. 

It would suit a mum or dad looking to stay at home and work flexible hours to suit you. Potential earnings could be the same as a full-time and no child care costs to pay. 

After all it’s about making memories and Rock and Roll Soft Play certainly helped with that.