So it’s “Done and Dusted’, thats what us Irish say when a Job is complete.
It’s been a crazy, emotional, energetic, exhausting and a tearful past year, yes I am a single parent, also a parent who came out of a long relationship with someone I invested time, money, dreams, tears and my heart with.
Seven years ago we built a beautiful home that I personally created on paper and had it built to a very high standard by investing every cent we owned. We dreamed of growing old with our family there.
But that was not meant to be, as we seperated two years ago, leaving me and my little Dude in our home that now felt so emepty with my dreams and hopes torn apart and a loneliness you couldn’t imagine.
After coming to terms, gaining strenght and being positive about the challenge on becoming a single parent, I picked myself up, used my talent of Photography and photographed my home, put it on the buyers market and thankfully got a buyer within the first month.
Relief, sadness, closure and panic all came to mind. How can I empty all of its contents in just four weeks as a single parent??
Thankfully, I had a very supportive and kind friend, who helped all the way and with the help of another friend, we did it, we cleared the house of all its contents, all the memories, all the the familiar spaces. It was extreme, it was emotional, but we did it!!
I said my goodbye at 3am that morning that the new owners were to move in, as I drove away in the darkness of the night, looking back at what for only a couple of more hours had been my family home.
Closing that chapter of my life, ready to write a new one, all I can suggest is ‘Never give up, Stay positive, Be strong’ for the little ones because we create their story, their securities and their home.
September means one thing to anyone with children: back to school and all the shopping and planning that requires. And while uniform and school shoes are fairly straight forward, the question of backpacks is a much wider one. So we’ve scoured the high street to find the best school bags, whatever your need or budget:
The colourful school bag
Got a child who knows what they want? Pink? Green? Gold? Silver? Shiny? Sparkly? Hype have got you covered! A dazzling array of designs, there’s literally no limit to the choices your child can have. From Mint Holographic to Blue Acid Denim and Gold Glitter, these roomy backpacks have become a popular, yet, thanks to the multitude of different styles, individual choice for style-savvy kids up and down the country. From £24.99.
The anti-theft backpack
If public transport travel is part of your child’s school commute, having a secure backpack will be high on your list of priorities. The Bobby Compact backpack is a literal Fort Knox – there’s no external zippers and has thick, cut proof material. Kids might be more enamoured by its sleek design and integrated USB port which you can connect to an internal power bank, so when their phone or tablet runs low, they can attach it to their bag for some more charge and carry on undisturbed. It’s fully waterproof, ergonomically designed, and comes in different colourways and full of hidden pockets too. From £74.99.
The bag for little adventurers
Wipe-clean is the only way to go when your little darlings are mini adventurers and this Mini Joules Backpack is spot on. With plenty of room for lunch boxes and school supplies, the padded arms mean it won’t cut into your child so they can run around till their heart’s content. The cute design should please them too. From £26.95.
The one for sporty types
Sporty students will appreciate the multitude of pockets of the Under Armour Storm Contendor Backpack. The tough, abrasion-resistant bottom panel won’t fall foul to being dumped on a football pitch while the water-repellent front pockets are designed to keep valuables safe. Perhaps one of the best features though is the adjustable, padded, HeatGear shoulder straps, just the thing for post-cross-country. From £65.
The stylish rucksack
Older students will love the minimalism of style of this Fiorelli Zip Top Backpack, which puts a cooler spin on the traditional rucksack shape. It’s stylish as well as practical, as it opens fully (so easy to reach for those pens) but includes a small zipped pocket for valuables plus a slip slot for tablets. From £69.
The best bag for growing backs
A lot of students opt to lug all their books around at all times for fear of forgetting the one important item but that means a lot of weight on young, developing shoulders and for some this is a real concern. The YUUschool backpack takes weight distribution to new levels: vertical compartmentalisation of pockets keeps weight higher up and closer to the spine. S-shaped padded straps are sewn close together to centralise the weight to the body. Deep pockets and security straps avoid weight falling to the middle of the bag causing pain and pressure. From £39.99.
The one for the glitterati
You can’t beat a bag to put a smile on their faces and this cheap and cheerful number from Paperchase is just the ticket for those grey, autumnal days. The rainbow design carries through to the zip too, and with a large compartment and smaller one at the front, it’s an ideal choice for those that travel light. From £35.
Starting school can be a difficult time for children. Every child is hesitant to go somewhere new and see people she’s never met before. Here are some helpful ways to prepare your child for her first day of school:
1. Let your child know what his schedule will be like. Tell him what time school begins and ends each day.
2. Ask your child about her feelings — both the excitement and the concerns — about starting school.
3. Visit the school with your child to see his new classroom and meet his new teacher before school officially starts.
4. Point out the positive aspects of starting school. It will be fun and she can make new friends.
5. Let your child know that all kids are nervous about the first day of school.
6. Leave a note in your child’s lunchbox that will remind him you’re thinking of him while he’s at school.
7. Reassure your child that if any problems arise at school, you will be there to help resolve them.
8. Try to have your child meet a classmate before the first day of school so she will already have a friend when school starts.
9. Arrange for your child to walk to school or ride together on the bus with another kid in the neighborhood.
10. Find out about after-school activities that your child can join. Will there be a back-to-school party? Can she join a sports team?
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5-12, by Edward L. Schor (Bantam, 1999)
When it comes to being a single mother, the two most important characteristics of a job are flexibility and salary. And while those elements are found on a company by company basis, there are certain industries that lend themselves to being more flexible than others.
The most flexible professions include sales, public relations, health care and real estate. As an added bonus, employees who work in those fields have the potential to make decent salaries. Education is also on the list. Although the hours are set, they’re likely to be the same as their school-age children’s.
Of course not all companies in those professions are ideal for single parents. That’s why single moms must do their research to find out how family friendly their potential employer is. Among the characteristics they should look for (aside from the ability to control their own schedule) are flex time, job sharing and on-site child care.
One place to start is Working Mother magazine’s annual list of 100 best companies for working mothers.
From there, moms shouldn’t be shy during the interview process. There are ways to tactfully learn if their potential employer allows its staff to work from home and adjust their schedule according to their child care needs. Of course it can’t be the first thing asked in a job interview. But it is reasonable during the second or third meeting to say things like: Tell me what it’s like to work here; how do you find working here personally?; tell me about the opportunities to make use of here in terms of flexible environment.
Another way to learn about family friendliness is to ask if there are any affinity groups, says Jennifer Owens, an editor for Working Mother. Those are groups of employees that meet regularly on specific topics. For instance, many companies have working parent’s affinity groups or parents of special needs children.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking the interviewer, ask someone else within the company. Also, check out the company’s Web site to see what it says about values and work culture.
Much of this depends on where a single mother is in her career. For instance, Margy Sweeney’s two daughters were 2 and 5 when she got divorced. Sweeney was age 29 and still wanted to explore different careers. She was a marketing manager at a real estate firm and wasn’t convinced she wanted to do it forever. It became clear when her boss yelled at her for coming into the office at 9:15 a.m. after staying up until 4 a.m. to finish a presentation. It was particularly frustrating because she left the office at 5 p.m. the previous day to pick up her children from school. She continued to work on the presentation after they went to bed so she could meet her deadline.
“A single mother should look at a company and say, ‘Do they appreciate the work I do outside of regular working hours?,’ ” says Sweeney, who, since then, worked as a freelance writer and is now happily settled in her job as a PR professional in Chicago. In other words, find out if they’re results-oriented or if they simply want employees at their desks.
Some jobs, like nursing, require employees to be on-site. But there are lots of shift options so they can work while the kids are at school–or sleeping. The average national salary of a registered nurse is $49,534, according to CareerBuilder.com. Another well paying and flexible job in health care is physical therapy. They set their hours according to patient need, and there are many offices that allow them to work part-time. Their average national salary is $53,508.
Still, single parents need to prioritize their needs. Companies that provide the most flexibility don’t necessarily offer the highest salaries. Think medical transcription. They listen to dictated recordings from doctors and transcribe them into medical reports. The upside is they can work from anywhere; the downside is they often make less than $30,000, according to data from CareerBuilder.com.
It’s a balancing act–something single parents are very familiar with.
As we get older and our age heads north, other things head south. Bums get bigger and flabbier, our muffin top tends to start spilling over our jeans and, a real problem for women, boobs begin to sag. No matter where you end up in the cleavage spectrum, be it the slender bee-stings of a Kiera Knightley or the voluptuous, round mammaries of a Kim Kardashian, in the end only cosmetic surgery or the world’s best Wonderbra can stop the slide.
Or is that the case? If you can afford it, silicone supplements to boost your bust can be an answer but if not, there are more fun, and possibly a bit extreme (if less effective) ways for ladies out there to ensure nipples are staring in front rather than at the floor.
- Tie balloons to your boobs
Balloons on your balloons? It sounds weird but still possible; a simple ‘string on the nipple’ method with a balloon on each end. Upsides are that this method will certainly keep you perky. but downsides include having two balloons sticking out from your shirt looks ridiculous and if you use helium balloons, there’s the possibility you could end up with a charge of public indecency (not to mention rope burns on your areolas).
- Boob push ups
A while back a woman became an internet sensation when she made her boobs dance, so why not have them perform push ups? Sure it might take a lot of squeezing and flexing but if achieved, it could start a new exercise sensation.
- Hire a man (or woman)!
This is a more effective and intimate solution, but still an idea. Hiring someone might seem like a possibility open to those who are well-to-do and can afford to have a servant for such a menial task, but in reality it’s a job which, if available, would certainly do something to reduce the unemployment rate, particularly among the male and lesbian population!
- A boob shelf
A simple bit of carpentry might be the answer to the prayers of the boobylicious. A 2×4 hung around the neck by a string makes for a good sagging deterrent and, if necessary, somewhere to hang your cereal when eating breakfast! Beware of splinters!
Certainly an extreme idea, but since boobs flop around when women sleep, no position is a plus when trying to stop this. Plus it’s a good way of stopping them from falling into your armpits when sleeping on your back.
- Wear a bra – always
Yes, the thing which is supposed to keep your breasts in place is probably the best idea, only all the time. It’s widely known among women that their best feeling of the day is when they can finally unhook their ‘over shoulder boulder holder’ and let the ‘girls’ roam free, but doing so contributes to sagging. Find a comfortable bra and keeping it on is a plus.
- Avoid bouncy exercise.
Keeping fit is a must for most people today, but if you have boobs it just might be dangerous. All that bouncing up and down while performing activities like running, getting on a trampoline, or jumping in any way not only might damage a few ligaments, it might also cause damage in other places. Injuries include (if you’re particularly stacked) black eyes, nipple chafing and bruising passers-by if they get too close!
- Keep your hands above your head at all times
Certainly this idea will make your cleavage and boobs look a lot perkier, especially in a low cut top, and give your arms a much needed workout. A good deodorant is a must when trying out this method!
- Massage your boobs with a feather
Our last method is probably our most bonkers. Indeed there’s no scientific proof that this will actually make your boobs perkier, but some sites say that they will get bigger. They’ll certainly be more ticklish, which is why it should probably be confined to the bedroom with your partner
So I rejoined the gym and enlisted the help of a trainer, for advice mainly
(trainers can be very pricey, just try to get the basics and go it alone,
or with a friend) he showed me the decline sit ups, where your head is
further down the elevated work bench, and you sit up to be upright, with or
without a weight plate (the weight plate really boosted my workout)
I have found these to be the most effective of techniques I have ever
Being a mum, many of us share this same problem area, and the singer Kelly
Clarkson, I really felt for recently had came under the dreaded Katie
Hopkins wrath, for her weight gain after pregnancy.
Hopkins made (fat jibes) at the new mum on Twitter, in very poor taste I
When woman attacking one another for responding differently to pregnancy
absolutely disgusts me. If Hopkins had of found her weight an issue she
would never of poked fun at others, completely showing her lack of
I mean come on, it’s like poking fun at a blonde because you’re a brunette!
Absolutely pointless and pathetic, just like her.
She pokes fun at “talentless” people trying to gain fame, when she herself
gets attention from bullying others! Madness she is even given air time.
Well that will be the only time I will give her any attention.
Any of you embarking on a new fitness plan for this summer, I salute you,
and wish you all the luck. And remember, a good clean healthy diet is 80%
of the battle.
- Always include a cover letter. The recruiter may not read it, but if they do, it is a key way to differentiate you from your competition. Over 85% of candidates do not routinely include a cover letter with their applications.
- Remember that the first person who will look at your application will be a member of the HR Team. Therefore everything needs spelling out, as they will not be an expert in your area. Do not use acronyms unless they are used in the job advert. Use words that the recruiter will recognise and be able to link to the duties of the role. This will increase your chances of having your application put forward to the hiring manager.
Things To Remember
- Make sure you have included your name, address, telephone number, email address and the date of your application at the top of your letter.
- Include the company name and address if you have it.
- If you have the name of the specific person to send your application to, make sure you include it and CHECK THE SPELLING. Recruiters are known to reject applications on the grounds that their name is spelt wrong. They believe that it shows that the candidate cannot pay attention to details.
- Address the letter correctly if you do not have a name. You should address it to “Dear Sir/Madam”.
- Sign the letter correctly. If you have written, “Dear Mr X”, you should end with, “Yours sincerely”. If you have addressed the letter, “Dear Sir/Madam”, you should end with, “Yours faithfully”.
- If you have been asked to include anything with your application, such as references from previous employers, evidence of qualifications or samples of your work, make sure they are attached; otherwise your application will be rejected for not paying attention to detail.
- Avoid humour or jokes in your cover letter (unless you are applying for a role as a comedian or a comedy writer). Your sense of humour may not appeal to everybody.
- Do not use swear words or crude language in your cover letter.
- Make a heading for your letter. This should be in bold with the title of the job you are applying for and the location (if there are several options).
- Your first line should be simple and to the point: “Please find attached my CV for the post of X”.
- Then tell them where you saw it advertised. If you are being referred to the role by someone already working for the company, mention their name here, as if there is an internal employee referral scheme, they stand to make some money if you are appointed.
- Outline briefly why you are interested in working for the company and the key skills you can bring to the role. To do this effectively, read through the advertisement and highlight which words seem to be important within it. Then double check by looking at the company website and see what they state their corporate values to be. The chances are that some of these will be in the advert. Use these key words in your cover letter.
- If they mention key experience in the job advert, mention the experience 3 times in your application (across both the cover letter and the CV). For some reason, recruiters believe something that is mentioned 3 times. For example, if they state that they want someone with team management experience, you should point out in your cover letter that you have team management experience. Within your CV you should also state under at least 2 jobs that you have team management experience. Bear in mind that your cover letter and CV may be being scanned and ranked against other candidates by an automated e-recruitment system. By using the exact words used in the advert you are more likely to get yourself ranked highly. Similar phrases are not generally searched for so if, for example, “team management” is used, use the phrase “team management” not “managed a team”.
- If they have asked for essential qualifications or accreditations, make sure that you mention them in this paragraph.
- Outline briefly relevant work experience and any other experience (non-work related) which would make you suitable for the role.
- Re-emphasise your interest in the role and ask them to invite you in for interview. Be subtle about this. Something simple such as, “I would welcome the opportunity of an interview” is fine. If you are going to be out of the country when the job closes, let them know at this point and tell them when you will return. If you will be checking your emails whilst you are away, this is a good point to let them know.
- Thank them for their time in reading your application.
- Finish with, “I look forward to hearing from you”.
- End with either, “Yours sincerely” or “Yours faithfully”.
- If you are emailing or uploading your application to a website, it is not necessary to hand sign the letter. If it is being posted or hand delivered, you must sign your name at the bottom of the letter. A typed name will not be sufficient.
- If you have been asked to attach work samples, evidence of certifications and accreditations or references from previous employers, list them under attachments.
- If you have not been asked to attach any additional information and you have decided to, it is worth listing them under “Attachments” so that the recruiter knows to look for them and that they are relevant to your application.
- If you are only attaching a CV, it is not necessary to have an “Attachments” section at the bottom of your letter. It is optional.
Carolyn Philip is the Director of Fremantle HR Consultancy and regularly advises clients about how to apply for jobs and get their applications noticed.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have recently highlighted the importance of taking baby and toddler CPR lessons on their respective Instagram accounts by revealing that they had both recently taken a course, and urging fellow parents to get involved.
Blake, 29, wrote alongside a picture with showed her with several training dummies: “ALL MAMAS AND DADDIES OUT THERE– I can’t recommend this enough, I took a CPR class with with a focus on babies and toddlers. Google “infant CPR class near me” and you’ll see lots of listings. For those of you who haven’t done it, you will love it. It’s so helpful by giving you knowledge, tools, and some peace of mind.”
The couple, who are parents to two daughters, know the importance of first aid – Ryan, 40, revealed in his post that he had helped save his nephew’s life thanks to a past CPR lesson, but was taking a refresher course focused on infant and toddler CPR, to further enhance his knowledge and skills.
With research showing that 74% of parents say the first aid emergency they fear the most is finding their baby unresponsive, St John Ambulance has issued first aid advice on what to do if a baby or child is unresponsive and not breathing.
How to do Baby CPR (under the age of one)
If your baby is not responding to you and they are not breathing, follow these steps to perform CPR:
- Call 999/112 for emergency help: If you are on your own, give 1 minute of CPR before calling on a speaker phone.
- Give 5 initial puffs over the mouth and nose.
- Give 30 chest pumps using two fingers at a rate of 100-120 pumps per minute.
- Repeat: give 2 puffs followed by 30 pumps. (30:2)
So we all have a shadow, generally only when the sun projects one…
But us mums and maybe even more so, loan parent mums, have a shadow following us around pretty mum 24/7 especially if they are a loan child..
We are not only their mum, but technically their best friend, their mum, dad, brother, sister all rolled into one.
They want to understand every little thing we do and why we do it, how we do it and what happens next.
I find I often tell my little dude to go over there, just to be away from me in fear of learning tasks he shouldn’t know how to do as they may be dangerous for such a curious little mind.
I remember when I struggled to grasp the loan parent duties, due to exhaustion, not enough hands, trying to work from home so that I was able to mind my son and the weekly visit to my family home… That’s when you either felt proud that you were doing good or that you looked like you were struggling, all because of the look on your own mums face.. And when leaving, my mum would say to my little dude, ‘be a good boy now and look after moma’.
Well, my little man took that totally to heart, took it as his duty to look after me as much as I do him.
If I let something fall, he rushes in and says, I’ll get it!
If I have a headache, he becomes ‘doctor dude’ and puts his little hand on my forehead…
If I look sad, his little eyes looks at me and gives me a kiss and a cuddle,..
He always wants to help make dinner or carry the shopping bags after filling the trolley!
He loves photos of us together, he loves me and I him!
Walking down the street with his little hand in my hand and him saying, ‘because I love you’!
Makes him the best shadow I could ever wish for 🙂