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

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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

Groovy Monday seems to have arrived very fast.

Five mums shared their thoughts on taking positive steps to change their lives last week. Do check out their stories and leave a supportive comment – that’s how Groovy Mums works best.

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I have looked at the 5 ways to well being and can report as follows.

1. Connect – I have looked the world in the eye more especially on the school run where I find cliques very intimidating. I have managed to chat and laugh a little with mums. For me, this is very groovy.

2. Be active – I am incorporating more walking into my day. I also tried a little yoga at the weekend. I am going to commit to doing some exercise straight after the school run every day. I think that will work best.

3. Take notice – It is vital to count our blessings. I have tried to savour moments more particularly cuddles with the children.

4. Keep learning – I have not done enough on this front. I need to read more and to write more. As a wonderful woman told me even putting 20 minutes aside a day to write that novel could pay dividends in the long-term.

5. Give – I have a very groovy giveaway for you this week in association with the British Heart Foundation. It will appear today or tomorrow at the latest.

So my groovy challenges for you this week are ..

1. Speak to somebody new

2. Look into how you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine

3. Savour the moment letting go or what was or what might be.

4. Visit your library and see what learning opportunities exist in your area

5. Enter my Groovy Giveaway and Ramp Up the Red.

Blog about how you are taking steps to change your life for the better in ways large or small and link up. Visit the other entries on the linky and offer your support.

In other news, my husband has a job offer that might take us in a very groovy direction indeed. I sense we are at a very interesting crossroads right now.

Dear Matilda Mae

I imagine I am not the only one today who wondered whether to write you a letter at all.

I am not a relation or a friend. I don’t live near your family. It feels a bit uncomfortable to know what to do for the best. Is writing a letter intrusive? What words can offer comfort?

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Before the tragic event of a year ago, I was aware of your Mum and her blog. It was not a blog I visited a lot. Your Mum as you know is one of life’s naturals at the most joyful and challenging experience we call motherhood. That shines out so strongly from her writing and pictures both before and after she lost you. Sometimes that inspires and sometimes it makes mums like me wish we did better.

I think I met you once at BritMums Live. I am not sure. I remember feeling very out of my depth and spotting a woman with a baby. Even the most shy person can overcome nerves to comment on a beautiful baby. So I said something and got a friendly reply. Was it you and your Mum? Frustratingly, because I was so caught up with my own feelings, I can’t say either way. It is enough to know that I was in the same room with you once.

On 2nd February last year, you went to sleep for the final time.

I have watched your family try to come to terms with this event. I have reflected on how I might feel had this happened to our family.

Times change a lot in a year. I found myself at BritMums Live again in June last year on the reception desk as your Mum arrived without you. I got this right I think. I held your Mum’s eye and said how good it was to see her there or something like that.

At the MADS, I got it wrong again and asked if your Mum was having a good time before realising who it was and what a crass question that was in the circumstances. Later I stood on the stage with your Mum and wished fervently that the judges would have seen sense and know that hers was the Outstanding Contribution. Your Mum said how vital it was that you were remembered as if we as a community could ever forget. I was so aware that she still had to travel home without you and you would not be waiting for her there.

I think of you and your family a lot. I keep hoping that I can make sense of what happened to you and to so many other babies. Forgive me Matilda Mae but I am still working on that one.

So a woman who likes to think she is good with words has no clever ones tonight so as I do I will pinch some.

Star of the sea was the hymn I chose for my Dad’s funeral and includes these words ..

Assuage our sorrows, calm our fears,
And soothe with hope our misery.
Refuge in grief, Star of the sea
Pray for the mourner, pray for me.

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This morning I watched Coronation Street and Hayley’s funeral. A community coming together to acknowledge that someone was very special indeed and made her unique contribution as we all do.

I cried for losses of my own and very much with you on my mind too of course.

When I lost my parents, the only comfort I found was in memories. I think it made me realise that the only point of life as far as I can see is the making of memories that will sustain those we leave behind. I am quite evangelical about it now urging those who still have their loved ones to keep making memories. They will understand one day.

Your family will continue to feel your presence in magical ways too. Of that I am sure.

I feel a special wind and believe that means my parents are at my side.

The only other meaning to life that I can fathom is that it is important to leave a legacy and to have contributed in some meaningful way.

Matilda Mae – you lived for 9 short months and have managed to change the world.

You have raised awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and seen money raised for charities in your name.

Families do things differently – mine does anyway even in tiny ways like making more time for arts and crafts.

I take part in a linky this year saying what my word of the week is. Every week the word is clear but this time it was obscure.

Watching Corrie, Roy used the word “coruscating”. It is rare for a new word to come into my world. I did not know what this meant.

It means…

To give forth flashes of light; sparkle and glitter

I think you did that and continue to do so.

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Keep shining bright and help your family to do the same.

What is the perfect bag for a busy mum like me?

The first thing to reveal is that there used to be battles when I was a teenager. My late Mum felt a handbag was an essential piece of kit for all girls and women. She had lots of different ones and I could never see the point of that. Now I sometimes see bags that remind me of hers and there is one of those little pangs of grief. They were very much a part of who she was. They were a bit like the Mary Poppins’ bag in terms of having every possible item you might need in them.

When you become a mum, you are going to need a changing bag at the very least. Can you remember just how much stuff a new baby needs? – nappies, cotton wool, wipes, nappy rash cream, nappy bags, comb, scissors and so on.

On my quest to become groovy, I have started injecting a few of the things into my life that I see other women enjoy.

I am going to grow up and stop using my pockets as my way of carrying things around. When out shopping, it is good to have my hands free and that only really works with a good handbag.

I recently took delivery of a Mia Tui Grace bag. I opened the parcel excitedly and there was the bag in a bright pink carrying case.

The Perfect Bag For A Busy Mum

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What do I love about my new Mia Tui bag?

* It is soft to the touch
* It comes in a variety of colours and mine is aubergine
* I love that the zip has a little star on it – cheerful and fun
* The lining is wonderful – bright pink to brighten your world on the darkest of days
* There is a pocket on the outside of the bag which is so useful for things you need readily to hand like train tickets
* The bag is incredibly roomy and has 4 internal pockets
* There are even special places for pens. I am always losing pens so love this feature
* There is a transparent make-up case
* It includes a good-sized clutch bag
* You can use the bag as a hands-free or as a cross-body satchel
* It is an all seasons bag as it is waterproof inside and out
* It looks chic whether on the school run, out shopping or at a blogging event

There is a wide range of bags available on the Mia Tui website

Mia Tui offer Kate on Thin Ice readers a discount.

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