It’s blogging award season again.

So as someone who has won a few blog awards in my time, I thought I would share my secrets on how to win a blogging award.

1. Start a blog but don’t say who you are for years.

2. Don’t join any blogging networks because you do not know they exist.

3. Be so clueless that you never put photos on your blog. As for anything else technical, well forget it.

4. Run away from any idea of self-hosting because it must be complicated surely.

5. Avoid blogging events because you are not a “real” blogger.

6. Wonder what statistics are and when you find out get a bit daft about them and then decide you have no intention of missing out on life whilst chasing stats.

7. Attend blogging events occasionally and do one or more of the following:

a) Struggle to say hello
b) Hide in the loo
c) Have steamed up glasses
d) Get ridiculously drunk

7. Start working for a blogging network so you become ineligible for their awards and unlikely to get one from any other network.

8. Join in linkys only if they really interest you.

9. Write what you want when you want and how you want. Take a break when it feels right to do so.

10. Get a gimmick and be aware this might give people the wrong impression of you.

Well that’s how I did it.

What do I take from this?

If you are yourself and don’t jump through hoops, you might just get an award anyway.

And if you do, at least you will know it is for the real you!

All the best and remember award-winning or not, your blog is amazing because it is yours!

It’s a bit like Valentine’s Day. You might get roses but if you don’t you can always treat yourself to some.

With love from me to you.

P.S. Unlikely things do happen

To my darling boy

You said you were the only one in the school without a Valentine.

This is your first year of being a teenager and all that angst sets in from time to time.

You may not have a Valentine but you will never be without love.

This week I have struggled.

When I feel down, I behave in a less than ideal way. I focus too much on me and not enough on my children or husband. I get irritable and angry. I want to be alone.

Through it all, you are the one who understands me best.

You remind me that you love me. You tell me I am good enough. You tell me if we stick together we can get through anything.

A highlight of a very challenging week was you and I going to see the film about Nelson Mandela.

You were the only child in the place.

It was a long film but you watched, listened and learned. You had your view too both of the events portrayed and of the quality of the film.

When you were a baby you had a play nest with a crackly sunshine toy that played “You are my Sunshine”

You still are even when the clouds cross my sky.

I thank you for that and I love you so very much.

Twice this week, I have sent you on errands and you have returned having donated to charity.

I love the idea of the collectors being surprised at a 13 year old digging deep to help others.

You are a very special boy.

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Let’s keep counting on each other.

Love

Mum x

autismmumma

Have you seen all my excitement after my husband was finally offered a job?

We envisaged an move to a beautiful area with vibrant cities, beautiful countryside and the sea.

We thought we might get back on our feet financially after months of struggling on paying out thousands of pounds in interview expenses. Keeping on keeping on and working with blind faith fuelled by the support of generous spirits in the real and online world.

The phone call came today.

The Royal British Legion have stymied us yet again. Their reference merely confirms that dates that my husband worked for them. Nothing about his loyalty, skills, experience or even the fact he left because of redundancy.

The potential employer is clearly concerned at this turn of events.

So now we sit and wait to see if whatever evidence we can pull together will be enough to convince the potential employer that my husband will be an asset to their organisation.

I want some time because I would quite like to let the stress of the last few months out with a good crying session.

I swear. I shout. I feel bitter at the injustice of it all.

Then I remember I am very much my late mother’s daughter and start to take action.

As I start to have my say and to come up with practical steps to move us forward, this song comes to mind. It was a favourite back in the day and seems apt right now.

The higher you build your barriers the taller I become – we will find a way forward despite the difficulties the Legion are putting in our way

You can deny me. You can decide to turn your face away – we are hurt that an organisation that claims to stand shoulder to shoulder with ex-service people has turned its back on our family when my husband was a loyal member of staff and is ex-forces himself.

Something inside so strong. I know that I can make it – I have the support of people with good hearts on and offline. I have the “backbone” that my mother instilled into me. I can be strong for my husband and children as she was for hers.

The more you refuse to hear my voice.The louder I will sing – Ain’t that the truth!

My light will shine so brightly – you betcha!

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
When we know better
Just look ’em in the eyes and say
I’m gonna do it anyway
I’m gonna do it anyway

Bet your bottom dollar this family is about to overcome whatever it takes.

Why?

Because there is something inside so strong!

Wednesday Words

This blog loves to feature mums who take charge of their lives in ways large or small. If you have a story to share, please email kateonthinice@gmail.com

groovinggrabbadge

Here is Linda’s story

1. What made you decide to take up teacher training?

I wanted to be a primary school teacher at 18, but I didn’t get my Maths GCSE grade C, I got a D. I wasn’t allowed on the teaching course so I had to take another path and studied languages instead. I didn’t know back then that I could have maybe taken a year out and then tried again to apply for a teaching course. After having my children I realised that I couldn’t work full time anymore, financially it couldn’t work for us. I was a teaching assistant in a secondary for 2 years. I loved it and this made me want to be a teacher again. The added bonus would be that I would have the same school holidays as the children.

2. How did you feel when you first started looking into it?

Once I made the decision I couldn’t wait to get started. It wasn’t that easy to the find the right course though. I knew I definitely wanted to be a teacher but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to teach languages as that is my degree (Italian and Russian). In the end I found a part time course offered by Bedford College in which I would be able to teach travel and tourism (my professional background) to college students in further education colleges. This is perfect for me as I am still very passionate about the travel industry.

3. Tell us more about what the training entails?

The course is a two year part time one which fits in well with my family commitments. I go to college as a student one day a week. As part of the course I have to have a teaching placement in a college, so I teach (on a voluntary basis) in a further education college one day a week to complement my studies. At the college where I have my placement I have a mentor who works with me. I have 3 assignments a year to complete and in these assignments we have to show how we can relate the teaching practises we learn about to our own teaching.
After two years, if I pass everything, I will be qualified to teach in further education colleges as well as students aged 14+ in schools.

4. Where do you hope the training will take you?

I love working with teenagers/young adults who display challenging behaviour and would like to specialise in teaching this group. I also mentor young offenders at a young offenders institute and would consider teaching there in the future. I just need more experience before I can take this type of role on.

5. Have you ever felt, even briefly, like giving up the training? If so, why was that?

Not at the moment, but it may happen soon! I have an assignment due at the end of this month and motivation has been low!

6. How have family members responded to you doing this training?

My husband was a little unsure at first as I can sometimes start things and not complete them, but he has seen how serious I am about teaching and has been supportive. He tries to help out around the house more which has been great. My kids have been fine and love hearing about my students and how they can misbehave in my lessons.

7. What was challenging about taking on the training?

The biggest challenge was writing the assignments and believing that I could do it. I graduated in 1995, so 18 years had passed since I’d last written anything so academic in nature. I was so stressed writing the first assignment, I wasn’t sure I could do it or whether it would be at degree level. Thankfully it was and I passed.

Looking after the household and making sure the kids keep up their homework is a continuous challenge. However my husband is more aware of what the kids need to be doing and so is taking on the homework duties.

8. What would you say to a mum who was thinking about returning to learning/re-training?

To definitely have a go if possible. It can be frightening being a student again, however if you can afford it financially it will be immensely worth it. You’re also teaching your children that it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality.

I now know that if I had done this course 22 years ago I would have struggled academically. However, over the years I have read a lot and learnt how to write reports. In these reports I have had to justify why I should be given funding for events and had to back this up with evidence. This has helped me with my assignment writing. I also know that I don’t want to fail this course and for people to think that I’m a failure.

9. What qualities do you think you will bring to teaching?

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and I think this passion shines through when I teach. Originally I wanted to teach primary school age, however I find that I have a real affinity with the troublesome older kids.

I discovered this whilst working as a teaching assistant. I watch football, know about music (hard core hip hop too!!) and cars. During the lessons with the very troublesome lot I would find a common ground with the boys, and by surprising them with my knowledge of cars and football, they would see me as someone they could talk to. By breaking down these barriers they would settle and actually do some work.

With the girls, my knowledge of music will break the ice and they too see me as someone who “is actually OK” (my students’ words). It’s this quality of me taking an interest in them as people that is helping me work towards being a good teacher. I’ve still a lot to learn but I’m on the way to achieving my goal.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with Groovy Mums?

Life as a mum can be really tough. You’re constantly juggling trying to be a great mum, a good wife/partner and having some time to be “you”. If going back to your studies or training is something that will give you back an identity then I would say just go for it. My daughter is physically disabled and my husband suffers from Crohn’s Disease. Over the past 4 years both have undergone numerous operations. It’s been really tough.

Now that I am training to be a teacher and mentoring young offenders, I am doing something for me. When I’m teaching or mentoring I don’t think about my family, and while that may be selfish it’s actually quite nice.

Big thanks to Linda for sharing her story and inspiring other mums.

Remember if you want to highlight your story on this blog, just email kateonthinice@gmail.com and yes you can remain anonymous if you wish to do so.

I am delighted to bring you a wonderful giveaway which will see you dressed in style and also raise awareness of a charity campaign.

BAUKJEN have a beautiful collection of timeless dresses in figure flattering stretch jersey and lightweight knits. If you win this competition, you get to choose the dress of your choice from the website.

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The British Heart Foundation’s Ramp Up The Red day takes place on Friday this week. The charity is challenging everyone to go as red as they dare to raise money and help fight coronary heart disease – the UK’s single biggest killer. Do check out the website as there is a heap of fun available for you and your family and all in a very good cause.

How can you take part?

It’s up to you – whether it’s wearing red lippy, holding a red party, or going top-to-toe in red -as long as it is red and raises money to help the BHF’s fight for every heartbeat.

The Giveaway

BAUKJEN is giving away a dress of your choice. Sizes available are from size 6 to size 18.

BAUKJEN has loads of fabulous black dresses so I am asking you to leave a blog comment saying what red accessory or make-up you would add to your new look. It’s as simple as that.

The prize can be any dress on the BAUKJEN website

Enter via the Rafflecopter below and please note this competition is open to UK residents aged 18 years and over only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com