More than a Mum

More than a mum is the place I save everything that doesn’t fall into the Travel, Food and Lifestyle buckets. It’s all those little things that go into my life and make me the person I am. Expect to find, fashion, beauty, photography, hobbies and anything else that is another part of me that I thought you might be interested in.

What does a TA do Display board

Good question. What does a TA do?

It just goes to show that life is one big adventure and you never know where it’s going to take you. I found myself searching online with those exact words at the end of last summer and a couple of months later I started at our local junior school as a TA. Having completed my first year as a TA in Year 4 and as I prepare to be a TA in Year 6 this year, I can now tell you, with confidence what I do as a Teaching Assistant.

What does a TA do?

Anything and everything really from making a cup of tea for yourself and your teacher to changing the display boards, helping with the learning in class and playground duty. I’ve certainly had to brush up on my football rules this year!

My day starts at 8.30am. I may have some photocopying to do or preparation of resources needed for the day’s lessons. The children enter class from 8.50 onwards and it’s surprising how quickly those first 20 minutes of the day fly by. Many a time I’ve thought, ‘What they’re coming in already?’ and rush to finish my prep.

The children leave their Reading Records on my desk and I check for a parent signature saying the child has read. I mark the register accordingly for the teacher as those children who read 5 times a week will be eligible for the end of term treat – normally a disco or a fun day to recognise their effort.

You can really see the difference between those children who read daily and those who don’t, it helps them so much at school.

The morning is split into Maths, Break, Guided Reading and English. The teacher will deliver the lessons and then asks me to sit with a group or work with individual children. Another option is to walk around the class and help those who put their hands up.

what does a Ta do - display board

Afternoon interventions

Another part of my job which I really enjoy is the afternoon interventions. I was asked to take on various reading and writing interventions and I worked with the small groups from each Year 4 class. They are 20-minute sessions with selected children designed to give them a boost in areas they need or to push them further.

PPA cover

One afternoon each week, the class teacher will go to the staffroom and use the time to plan for the following week. It’s quite normal that the TA will cover the teacher and deliver lessons. I cover on Monday afternoons and teach Spanish, RE and Music. All of the lessons were prepared with great outlines and resources all ready to use.

Other TA duties

Playground duty – I am on the playground 3 times a week and I love it. Apart from being in the fresh air, I get to see the children let off steam and frequently I am surrounded by a group of them asking questions. I also cover an entrance corridor one day a week and the playground at the end of school another day to make sure no one hangs around and plays on the equipment.

Display boards – I love this part as it taps into my creative side. Luckily to date, I have been given free reign around a set theme. It’s all about displaying the children’s work so they feel proud of it and visitors are able to see how well the children are doing.

After school clubs – I have been able to start up a school blog and hold a Monday after school club – Blog Club! I have between 10-20 children and we write about all sorts of things. The beauty is allowing them to take control of their writing and ideas, I help out at the end with editing and images.

Fundraising – Yep, I decided to put forward the idea of running a talent show for the children and we got the go ahead! Together with another two TAs (I couldn’t do this on my own) we auditioned about 75 kids and put on a show with 22 acts. Tickets and programmes were sold and the money went into the school voluntary fund.

Accompanying children – to swimming lessons or on school trips. I have been to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, Shorne Country Park and our local Gurdwara.

What’s needed to be a TA?

If you are thinking of applying for a TA position you’ll need to have a sound knowledge of Maths and English at GCSE level. You’ll need to know how to use a photocopier and a computer. Take a look at the school website and read through the school policies, you’ll have about 30 children in your care and you’ll need to know about safeguarding them, Health and Safety guidelines and policies and procedures in place.

You’ll need to be able to relate to children and get on with the other adult members of staff. You’ll be a team player and ready to try your hand at many tasks to ensure a good day of learning.

Good luck!

hire hogroast machine

When we decide to throw a party, we tend to fall for the idea that we simply need to provide a few nibbles, something to drink and maybe a playlist or two but as the party date draws closer and closer, you might begin to feel a sense of pressure.

Will everyone have a good time? What if my guests are bored? Is there enough food?

Don’t worry, pre-party jitters are perfectly normal, and here you’ll find a few helpful ideas of how you can keep your guests happy and throw a party everyone will remember – for all the right reasons, of course!

The food

Anyone can cook a few sausage rolls, make a few sandwiches and open a few bags of crisps but if you really want your party to be one that’s remembered, then getting the food right is definitely a priority. So, why not step things up a gear and hire a hog roast machine? There’ll be minimal clean up when everyone has gone home and your guests will be wowed by the amazing sight and smell plus the time and effort you’ve gone to!

If you have some vegetarian or vegan guests then don’t worry, set them up their own salad bar! We’re not talking a bowl of iceberg lettuce and a few chopped tomatoes! Think basic salad but with all the incredible extras: sliced avocado, courgette noodles, snap peas, pesto, chickpeas, nuts, legumes, berries – create a rainbow of food for them to choose from. Your carnivore guests won’t be able to resist either!

food on table

Your playlist

Gone are the days of changing the CD and skipping the less popular songs on a compilation album. Now you can create your very own playlists, whether they’re bursting with the latest chart toppers or the songs you used to dance to at parties back in the day – music was better back then, right?

Choose songs that will either compliment your theme – if you have one – or just stick to songs that will keep the mood upbeat and happy. Maybe save the breakup ballad songs for when you’re tidying up the next morning, or when you’re in the shower!

Goodie Bags

Just because you’re not six, doesn’t mean you can’t give everyone a party bag when the fun is over! Treating every guest to a party bag is a great way to end your party on a high. You could fill it with anything you like!

Maybe some painkillers for the next morning…and a little bottle of water to remind them to keep hydrated too! Breath mints, an eye mask to block out the bright morning sunshine if they’re feeling a little tender. You could also treat them to a slice of cake! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the classics; a party hat, party trumpet and a balloon and if you want to add a gift in a miniature bottle of wine would be a hit!

fashion world

There’s nothing like a few new additions to the wardrobe to put that spring into your summer step is there? I love that word ‘capsule’ it makes me think of jetting off somewhere for the weekend with a bag containing every item I could possibly need to make my trip perfect.

Fashion World invited me to take a look at their website and choose some items I loved. It wasn’t difficult and within minutes I had a lovely long list which I then had to work my way through, eliminating as I went, to cut it down to a respectable list. Grown-up echoes of the catalogue challenge my brothers and I played as kids on the run up to Christmas – ‘Choose your favourite item on this page.’ for Every. Single. Page.

Weekend capsule wardrobe

If I were to jet off on a weekend to France say, I would certainly consider carefully the clothes I travel in as they would be part of my capsule wardrobe (there, I got to use it again). Most likely I would opt for a comfortable pair of jeans, a brightly coloured t-shirt, a cardigan or hoodie and a fancy scarf that will go with other outfits I plan to wear. On my feet some converse or trainers – comfort all the way for travelling.

fashion world

I would definitely pack a dress. I love dresses and the summer is the perfect time to wear one; legs out and feeling fresh. Fashion World had this beauty that I couldn’t resist and I am so glad I got it as I have worn it a couple of times on very different occasions and had some excellent remarks on it.

I might also pop a swimsuit in if we’re going to stay in a hotel with a pool or maybe somewhere hot. Swimming costumes are a bone of contention for me. I am conscious about my body and want to look my best at the same time. This fabulous Figleaves one piece is bright and cheerful, it also holds me in in all the right places. I’m in love with it and can’t wait to wear it over the summer.

fashion world

One other item to think of is the bag of course and Fashion World came up trumps with this oversize holdall that will hold everything I need. Neatly packed, my silver bag will not only carry all my gear but will look very smart as well.

If you’d like to take a look at Fashion World click here and work out your summer capsule wardrobe.

Disclosure: Fashion World sent me the items mentioned for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

SIlk'n Lipo

Is it possible to blast fat away from problem areas from the comfort of your home with today’s technology? Apparently, it is!

A while back I received an invitation from Silk’n to review their new product Silk’n Lipo, an innovative fat reducer which uses proven technologies that deliver visible long lasting results in 8 – 10 weeks.

I was immediately intrigued. I have been moaning about the fat around my middle since my twin pregnancy and it has never gone away. Yes, I do like a glass of wine and yes, I do like chocolate – two commodities that also love turning into fat. So being caught in this vicious circle and adding the peri-menopause into the mix, my middle hasn’t budged one bit – not even with my recent running programme. I figured that my tummy fat needed something much more serious to deal with the situation and a fat buster seemed the perfect route.

What is Silk’n Lipo?

The gadget combines two sources of energy for targeted fat reduction: Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to shrink fat cells and Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) that removes the extracted fatty acids from the body and tones the underlying muscle. Using a belt, you strap the machine around the target area and turn it on. It blasts for 15 minutes and turns off automatically at the end. You can then put it away for the next treatment or continue to another area you wish to treat.

Does it hurt?

NOT AT ALL! This was one of my first questions, will it hurt? I was assured it wasn’t and can confirm that to be true. It would feel like one of the twins was pressing my tummy with a Tangle Teezer. You have complete control of the intensity and since my first use on the set level, I have upped it to the max every time.

Silk'n lipo trial

Can I move around during the treatment?

Absolutely. I have had it strapped on and typed or marked homework, even prepared food in the kitchen.

What’s in the box?

The box comes with the two units, two electrode pads, a docking station, a couple of connectors and belts in various sizes for different parts of the body.

Is it easy to set up?

A piece of cake.

The docking unit is small and neat, and it takes about 3 hours to charge each time for use. Although the first time will need a longer 6 hour charge. The docking station turns from orange lights to green lights once ready.

Silk'n lipo electrode pad

You then fix the electrode pads to the units and wet them before applying to the treatment area. (I use my fingers in a glass of water.)

Place the units with the connectors and attach to the belt, then wrap around and press the on buttons on each device.

Silk'n lipo belt

The start is a prolonged press and the units will vibrate so you know they are switched on. Every couple of minutes there is a vibration to reassure you that the device is on and working.

Any warnings or contraindications?

Not for me. I have looked out for redness and have seen none. After my first go, I noticed an aching area in the treated area, as if I’d done a lot of situps. It disappeared and hasn’t returned since.

Starting measurements

The idea is I take measurements at the start and again every two weeks, I’ll be updating my two weekly measurements on my Instagram feed and coming back halfway through the 10 week trial with an update plus a final update at the end.

Silk'n lipo fat buster

Starting measurements – waist 33″ or 84cms.

Expected results

Silk’n Lipo say…

Lipo + current diet and exercise routine = you can expect to see a 2-4cm reduction in girth within 8-10 weeks.

Lipo + enhanced diet and exercise routine = whilst it will vary from user to user, you can expect even better results.

My goal

To wear a skirt I bought two years ago, a River Island size 12 which has always been too tight. If I lose 4 cms around the middle, I’ll be able to wear it.

Week One

This week has been the perfect example of how life can sometimes get in the way of the best laid plans. My darling nana has been rushed into hospital with bleeds on the brain. Twice. So this week has been a full on rush to school, rush home, rush to the hospital and include various after-school clubs, rush to put dinner on and then fall into a coma on the sofa. The beauty of the SIlk’n Lipo is, I’ve managed to fit it into all of that! Admittedly, only three times and for the area I am treating I should probably blast it every day and possibly on more than one section (next week!) but at least I made a start.

I am very impressed with how easy it is to fit into a busy schedule and I am really looking forward to seeing some results soon. I would like to point out it was my birthday and then my husband’s birthday this past week so I probably overdid the cake and wine. there’s always next week to improve on that right?

Cost of a Silk’n Lipo

The Silk’n Lipo costs £449.

winter sun

This month has flown by, I am surprised by how one week rolls into the next and before I know it, the month of January is on it’s way out!

Last time I wrote, I spoke about my choice of word to guide me through 2018, Willpower. This post is a catch up to see how far I have got and what changes, if any, to make.

My biggest achievement to date is my Couch to 5K efforts. I am so surprised at myself – pleasantly surprised. Let me explain …

I have always been one of those people who sniggered when they saw runners struggling up hills – why would you do that when you can sit comfortably at home? Who raised eyebrows at the sight of runners out in the rain and I have always declared – I am not a runner. I don’t like running. I will never run.

Fast forward to January 2018 and I have had to eat my words – every single one of them.

Oast house Ifield

I have joined our local SLGR (So Let’s Go Running) group who meet on a Tuesday evening, which conveniently ties in with the twin’s Brownie session, and I take part in the C25K training (Couch to 5k). This is all part of my Willpower challenge with myself. I have notoriously, all my life, started activities and then religiously dropped them a few weeks in for all manner of ridiculous reasons. I am determined to change this even and complete the C25K even if I don’t know what will happen once I reach the 5k (if I reach the 5k).

To give you a better insight into what the C25K challenge is I have copied the program below, I have completed two weeks and on Tuesday will be tackling Week 3 – a two minute run with 90-second walk intervals.

Weeks 1-6 start with 5 mins walking warm-up

Weeks 1-5 = 4k
Weeks 6+ = 5k

Week 1 – 30 sec run/90 sec walk
Week 2 – 60 sec run/90 sec walk
Week 3 – 2 mins run/90 sec walk
Week 4 – 2 mins run/1 min walk
Week 5 – 4 mins run/1 min walk
Week 6 – 5 mins run/1 min walk
Week 7 – 7 mins run/1 min walk
Week 8 – 10 mins run/1 min walk
Week 9 – 15 mins run/1 min walk
Week 10 – 5k run

It’s advisable to repeat the run at least once every week, so last week I took part in my first Park Run and this morning, Sunday, I went out on my first solo run and re-ran the course we complete on a Tuesday. I was amazed that I did it and I had a better time too. I am incredibly proud of myself as I have always been so anti-running and yet, here I am doing exactly that.

I am using the Strava app to record all of my runs, connect with me if you’re on there too.

my strava runs

For now, I can safely say I am on track with this aspect of my Willpower challenge. Other areas included

Writing – and on this, I am slacking but for all good reasons that, if they come to fruition, I shall be more than happy to share with you.

Reading – I am on my third book this year, a good Patricia Cornwell. I used to read her books when I lived in Italy and discuss them in minute detail with my friend Nicoletta so reading this book takes me back to those times too.

Getting fit and losing my baby weight (yes I know it’s been 9 years!) – There hasn’t been much movement on the scales to date but I have been trying to work my way through all of the Christmas chocolate. I am nearly done with it and so hopefully this will start to improve too. Half a stone off and a tighter tummy by June – here I come.

Let it be said I am happy with my willpower progress, it might not be 100% but so far so good. Well done me!

The photos above were taken on a recent family walk ;)

Marianne Weekes