GCSE Results Day – Exams Do Not Define You

This morning I notice my personal Facebook feed is full of well-wishing parents keeping everything crossed for their teenagers exam results today. Many of those teenagers are on edge while they wait, nervous for the outcome and desperate not to disappoint. So I have a message for all parents and teenagers who are anxiously waiting on said exam results.

My Story

I grew up with a vision that I would be a successful career women, I quite fancied the idea of working with children - maybe teaching - I wasn't really fussed if I worked for myself or for a huge corporate company, or as a teacher in a school but I was going to follow in the path of my grandparents. My career choice would earn me a mint, I would work up the ladder putting in all the hours god sent to have a good way of life.

I distinctly remember my dad telling me "I want you to do better than me", not getting to my 30's or 40's wondering where my life had gone and feeling like I've not achieved anything. My mum would tell me if you want to make it in this world, like really make it you need to get good exam results and go to university (although the idea of me leaving to live in halls she just didn't like) and my maternal grandparents would tell me the only way to make any real money is to work for yourself.

Despite my vision I wouldn't work hard at school, I was clever but lazy, and anyway I had a burning desire to meet 'the one', be married, settle down and have a family of my own. To be someone's wife and to be a mum was my only true dream.

So when it came to exam time why was I so pent up on the results?

Playing the cards you've been dealt

Having not put in the work I left school with only one GCSE, my parents were disappointed but loved me nonetheless. I wasn't gobsmacked nor was I jealous of class mates who had better results. I would just go to college to resit - simples!

I didn't let the results define me. It wasn't the end of said career. I played the cards I'd been dealt and found a Plan B.

I worked part time in a shop and went back to college.

At college I achieved the GCSEs I needed. Somehow! I'm not sure how, because once again I didn't work hard. I wasn't entirely interested in it all to be honest but nevertheless I went on to do a Childcare and Education Diploma. I was doing well, it was a subject that I loved but I didn't finish it.

I had met someone and knew he was 'the one'. I was just 17 but I loved him and college was a nightmare. I was having a hard time, socially and emotionally (which is a story for another day) so I left.

I quit.

Much to my families despair I called time.

I started work full-time and settled down with the guy I had met. Our relationship was frowned upon at the start but I knew he was the one so we fought and fought. It was a real struggle, a real test on our strength as individuals and as a couple but eventually we proved everyone wrong. I left home at 18, we started a family when I was 19, we became homeowners and got married when I was 24 and we had our fourth child when I was 25. All the while we were both working full-time, me in between maternity leave, to provide for our growing family.

Now I am a stay-at-home-mum, a housewife, who is financially supported fully by my husband and after 3 ish years of this lifestyle I am waiting for my certificate to arrive that will allow me to practice as a childminder.

My dream of working with children still very much in the pipeline. Only the path I took is just different to the one my parents and society had planned out for me.

My message

Remember at the beginning of this post I said I had a burning desire to be married, settle down and have a family of my own...

Well that's exactly what I achieved!

As well as a career in working with children which I cannot wait to get started on.

Now before parents reading this shoot me down, my point is NOT that you should quit your studies and run off with your teenage crush but instead IS if you truly want something, if you have that burning desire, deep down in the pit of your stomach, whatever it may be, you WILL find a way.

Your exam results DO NOT define you.

Find your Plan B and run with it, just as I have. Play the cards you've been dealt to the best of your ability and all will work out.

Whatever your dream is I wish you the best of luck and remember never give up on what it is YOU want.

Love to all xx

 

 

Feature Image - Source: Google Images.

 

 

 

Our Family holiday in Davutlar, Kusadasi, Turkey.

Turkey has been given a bad name recently with all the negative press in the media due to all the current goings on in the world but I have to say every time I go I just love it.

This time we stayed in a small town called Davutlar which is near Kusadasi. This is one place I refer to as 'real turkey'. As my stepdad is Turkish, I've been holidaying in Turkey since I was 6 years old rarely going back to the exact same place twice. I have seen 'tourist turkey' and 'real turkey' and I love one just as much as the other but for very different reasons.

Travel...

We flew with EasyJet to Izmir which is approx. 45 minutes away from the small town of Davutlar. The flight to Turkey is around 3.5 to 4 hours long, so not too pressing with young children in tow. That said you will want to think about Flight Must Haves to keep your little ones entertained and occupied - and remember things for the flight home too!! I didn't! Although luckily for me the girls and I slept and as for the hubby and the boys, well there was a thunderstorm going on underneath us that they we fascinated with. The flight cost us around £1200 (£200 each) return as we bought the tickets as soon as they were released.

My stepdad organised a minibus through Katar Turizm to take us from the airport to our villa. There was 11 of us (two families) and it cost £140, including the trip back at the end of our stay. So divided by the two families it cost us £70

Therefore in my opinion travel costs to Turkey, even during the summer holiday is reasonable.

The villa...

We stayed in a standard yet beautiful 3 bed villa, with 2 bathrooms, a balcony off every bedroom, open plan living / kitchen area with 2 comfortable sofa beds, a good sized terrace for al fresco dining and 2 swimming pools; 1 kids and one adults. It had everything you needed for a self-catering holiday; cooker, fridge/freezer, washing machine, crockery, cutlery etc although to be honest we could have done with a few more drinking glasses but that's a minor issue. All of this came to £700. Electricity wasn't included. That said we didn't use much. We only had the air-con on when it was absolutely necessary as we spent most of our time at the villa my stepdad stayed in. The fridge/freezer we turned on when we got there so was on constantly, the washing machine and cooker was used but only a few times. We paid 40TL which is less than £10 for the whole 9 days we were there. Bargain!

The villa was on a secure, guarded estate that had a manned iron gate and CCTV so we felt very safe. There were several blocks of villas that were situated in squares with the pool for that block in the middle. Be sure to read the pool rules though. It saves the embarrassment of getting told off by the fun police!

Food & Drink...

 

cost

Our food shopping was approx £100 for a week. With alcohol you are looking at A LOT more as the government have placed high tax on alcohol. For example a 70cl bottle of Smirnoff Vodka cost around £25!

There was a small local shop but much like the corner shops at home it was much more expensive and you couldn't get all that you needed from there. My stepdad had hired a car so the two of us went to the larger (although still small compared to the shops at home) supermarket.

We did eat out occasionally too and our meals normally came to around £30 for my family of 6.

cuisine

I'm sure I'm not far out in saying when people think Turkish food they think Doner Kebab...right? Well there is so much more to it than that...

We were eating Sucuk and eggs for breakfast, sometimes hard boiled, sometimes fried and seasoned with salt and cumin and we had salad with almost every meal. There were the most delicious mezze's for starters as well as Kofte, chicken sausages, pizza with spicy minced meat toppings, chillies both sweet & spicy, bread, beef kebabs, lamb chops and so much more (except pork of course) for mains!

We had watermelon, cherries and grapes which we had bought fresh from the fruit an veg stall.

Delicious!

Weather...

This time of year, July, is hot and August will be hotter still. Temperatures were in the high 30's (Celsius) most of the time with evenings dropping to low 30's high 20's!

So be sure you're on top of keeping your children cool. The blog I wrote on that is primarily for the uk but the same principles apply abroad.

I put 50SPF on my children the whole time we were there and they still came home with tan lines..so its hot and the sun is strong! It really is best to stay out of direct sunlight during the hours of 11am and 3 or 4pm.

Things to do...

If you don't have transport and you are staying in 'real turkey' in a place such as Davutlar then you may find it a struggle to get around. There is a public transport service and you can get taxi's but I wouldn't be able to tell you how to go about getting them. In our villa was a card with a taxi number on it but had that not been there I wouldn't have had a clue. I guess the only option you have under these circumstances would be to ask other residents on the estate in which you are staying, but bear in mind you may have difficulty with the language barrier.

We found some leaflets laying around the villa and came across one for a waterpark and one for boat trips. We saw the waterpark on our way from the airport and it looked incredibly fun so it was a unanimous decision to go. Upon calling the numbers on the leaflets we arranged a trip by coach (we couldn't all fit in the car) to the waterpark, Adaland for the next day.

Adaland was fantastic!

It cost around 185 TL for the 11 of us to get in which is around £40. That is a price you can't argue with! There are lockers so you can keep your belongings safe and you don't even need to carry cash around for drinks. You put money on a card and use it much like debit card. Then at the end of your day, if there is still money left on it when you return the card you are given back the remaining balance in cash.

There was a huge amount of sunbeds by the childrens area, under shade and by the drinks and ice cream stand which is where we set up for the day.

Also within the water park was a dolphin park (extra cost) and a seaside park (extra cost) but we didn't go to these attractions.

I have been to a few waterparks when abroad and I have to say the kids area at this one was simply fantastic! All four of mine loved it!

There was a wave pool, rubber dingy rides, loop slides, tube slides, diving boards and so much more. When it came to lunch there were two food places; one that offered burgers, chips, pizza and such like and one that served more traditional Turkish food such as kofte.

We also went on a boat trip which was sensational. If you get the opportunity to do a boat trip take my advice and DO IT! You won't be disappointed. I cannot stress how much it's worth every penny, how amazing, how inspiring or how breathtaking they are. Even with your children on board! There were moments where the boat was silent, with people - adults and children - looking out over the edge in awe of the natural beauty we were surrounded by.

Again the cost of this was excellent at around £10 a person, including lunch & a soft drink. We had chicken burgers, pasta and salad. It was lovely but I would recommended taking snacks and water with you though as you're out all day.

We shared the boat with other people meaning there was about 20 of us on board. We would have preferred a smaller boat with just us on it but we were happy with this. There were much bigger boats, with many more people on it. Personally I wouldn't I feel relaxed on a huge boat with my children on board too as there are too many people for you to be able to properly keep and eye on them.

The boat stopped at 3 different beaches and we were able to get off for a swim. My children got in for dip too. It wasn't as warm as I would have hoped or as warm as I have experienced before but still delightful nevertheless.



Whilst making our way back we were lucky enough to see dolphins!

They were leaping right out of the water and playing in the wake of the boat. It was truly breathtaking being able to witness them playing in their natural environment. The emotional being I am even shed a tear at this point - it was incredible sharing this with my kids.

So, whilst the media can be off putting don't let it blur your vision of what Turkey is really like.

Whether you choose a tourist location or 'real turkey' I'm confident you won't be disappointed.

Back To School – Time To Get Into Routine Again

Routine is out the window, the kids have had enough of each other, I feel like my house has been taken over by squatters and for all that I love my children they are starting to grate on me; I'm summer holidayed out, I'm almost out of ideas to keep them entertained and I cannot stand the incessant bickering between them much longer!

Sound familiar? Thought so 😉

Well hang on in there mumma the end is near, oh and by the way the above mentioned doesn't make us bad mumma's, it just makes us human. The lack of routine and organisation can be incredibly stressful and that's the same for our little people too.

So with the summer holidays drawing to an end its time to think about getting your little munchkins back into a routine.

Startling them on their first day back with the early morning and the demand for them to eat their breakfast now, not in 3 hours time when they suddenly realise they actually need food, is NOT going to do you or them any favours. In fact I'm almost 100% certain it'll end in tears and they'll flake out by the end of their first week back. As will you and no mumma's got time to be flaking!

So here are my 5 top tips, my go to's, my must do's in the week or so leading up to their first day back at school...

1. Regular bed time

Start putting them to bed a little earlier each night until they are back to their regular bedtime. start introducing your usual bedtime routine again too - bath time / story time whatever it may be to help with them being able to go to sleep a bit earlier each night.

2. regular waking time

Start waking them up slightly earlier each day. Get them up, washed and dressed ready to face the day as you would on a school day. This combined with tip 1 will help to reset their body clock.

3. cut out grazing and snacking

When they go back to school they will no longer be able to eat when they say they are hungry and if they don't eat at the set times because they're not hungry they will be starving by the time they come home. This is not good for their energy levels or the concentration that is required during the school day. So at home start being a more strict with your meal times, go back to regular times and less grazing.

4. school uniform

Make sure you have everything ready for when they go back to school. Get them involved in the purchasing of uniform so they are fully aware their return is inevitably coming soon. Don't leave buying uniform, or washing it until the last minute. This will leave you feeling harassed which children quite often pick up on so they too won't be feeling relaxed or at their best.

5. start as you mean to go on

Get all their bags, lunches, shoes, uniform, water bottles and whatever else you need ready the night before (this includes your things too - keys, work clothes etc)

Don't set yourself up for failure...fail to prepare leaves you preparing to fail!

For those who have children already in school that are preparing to go into their next year, hold tight your sanity will soon be restored! And for those parents that are about to go through this for the first time, who are fretting and wondering how other parents are at their wits end during the summer break...you'll understand in time 😉

 

 

Header image source: google

You Always Have A Choice – Choose Wisley

I write this post this morning in a very tired state. I am all out of sorts.

Having recently returned from a fantastic family holiday, i am exhausted! Travel alone is tiring but as some of you will be aware travelling abroad with young children throws other challenges at us as well and the all too real crash back to reality hasn't helped.

The kids are off school for the summer so there is not much r & r time for me.

My husband works away at times making me an #occasionalsinglemum (or so it feels).

I had planned to wake early today and resume back to my routine journal practice, building on my mindset and working on my dreams...

Then I had the worst nights kip ever!

So when my alarm went off I shuddered and hit snooze;
Again and again,
until I eventually arose from my slumber an hour and a half later; with a child in my bed...who is still there now! Cheers 👍🏼

I was cross, my day was already deviating from my plan
AND
I'm more tired than I was when I went to bed!!

SO I started asking myself the following questions, acknowledging I had a CHOICE. Acknowledging I could CHOOSE how the day was going to pan out from here.

  • How do you deal with this?
  • How do you move on?
  • How do you let this shape your day?
  • How do you let this affect your mood?...

There are TWO options

CHOICE 1) You CHOOSE
To kick yourself,
Be miserable,
Be hard on yourself for not sticking to your plan,
Be cross,
Mope around all day feeling annoyed
Feel sorry for yourself...woe betides me!!

OR

CHOICE 2) You CHOOSE
Let yourself accept this happened
Understand why it happened - your knackered!
Allow yourself to accept it's ok to be tired
Allow yourself to be ok with the situation
Pick yourself up
Dust yourself off
And start as mean to go on...

even if it is an hour an half later!

So my message this morning is this...

YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE - CHOOSE WISELY

I choose happy. What about you?

xxx