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Why Becoming a Teaching Assistant Is Perfect for First-Time Mums

If you are a first-time mum, you may want to consider taking a teaching assistant courses from NCC Home Learning. We give reasons why the role as a mum and role as a teaching assistant work well together below.

You’ll find your own reasons as to why becoming a teaching assistant is perfect if you’re a first-time mum. However, the most common and popular reasons are as follows:

More Time with Your Children
As a first-time mum, you’ll want to spend every waking hour with your child. Unfortunately, this is not possible for most mums. By working as a teaching assistant, you’ll be able to have more time in the evenings and holidays with your child. Although you may be required to work late on some days, you’ll generally have a set schedule every day.

You may have read how tiring the hours are for teachers. One of the advantages of being a teaching assistant is that you’ll have less responsibility than teachers. This means you'll have more freedom and more spare time on your day off, resulting in more time to spend with your son or daughter.

Helps You Juggle Life
Your daily life as a teaching assistant will be made up juggling just about anything and everything. You’ll be trying to help one child stop crying as you talk to the class teacher and help another student find their lunchbox. You’ll become superwoman! If you manage to tackle all of this in the classroom, imagine what kind of skills you’ll have with one baby at home?!

You’ll Keep Updated on How Schools Run
Education is constantly changing and if you’ve just had your first baby, the chances are that by the time he or she is ready for school, the way schools do things will have changed. How nice will it be to really know how the industry works, to really know what to expect for your child so that you know they’re getting the education that they deserve?

Become a teaching assistant and you’ll be able to get to know which schools in your area are thriving and which schools to avoid.

Bond with Children
Although you’re a first-time mum, you may or may not have a natural bond with children. Becoming a teaching assistant will allow you to naturally interact and bond with children. You’ll be able to have fun reading stories and playing together; something that you’ll enjoy doing with your own child.

Motherly Instinct
Children need someone around them who are going to care about them. Being a first-time mum will help you in your career here. Little ones will love and respect you for being someone to look up to and rely on when their own parents are not there. Older students don’t need smothering, but still need someone to turn to from time to time. Having that maternal instinct will often aid you in the workplace in situations like these.

Talking with Parents
Sometimes you’ll have to liaise with parents as a teaching assistant. First time mums will do well at this because they understand what parents want for their children. If a child or a parent has an issue, with your natural motherly ways, you’ll want to resolve this to benefit all involved.

If you can help communicate between the school and parents, you’ll become a well-loved member of the staff by your employer and the parents of the children you work with. This will make you feel like you’re progressing and accomplishing something good, which in turn will make you a happy employee.

You Won’t Mind Helping Doing out of Classroom Activities and Tasks
If you work in a primary or secondary school, you may end up on school trips that other adults dread. As a first-time mum, you’ll be used to it. This may even give you the opportunity to find good places to take your own child!

Young primary school children may also have a few accidents that nobody really wants to clean up… Mums to the rescue!

Although we have spoken about first time mums, more and more dads are deciding to take up careers in teaching and teaching assistants. If you’re a dad for the first time, or a dad for the fifth time and want to qualify as a teaching assistant, do it!

All parents are great at being teaching assistants; are you a parent who decided to go down this career path? What has your experience been? Have you got any tips to share?

If you’re a first time mum and have been thinking about becoming a teaching assistant, check out NCC Home Learning.

Megan x

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Happy Halloween!

Although we didn't get round to pumpkin picking in a field and getting all those Instagram-worthy shots (we just made do with Sainsbury's finest), we did have great fun spending our Sunday afternoon pumpkin carving. I've got to admit, I'm pretty proud of our efforts! I had every faith in my other half and his pumpkin carving skills (how amazing is the cannibal pumpkin he free-handed?!) but I really surprised myself! I think it was all down to having a good stencil, so spending a fiver on a pumpkin carving kit and stencils on eBay was totally worth it...even if I did see a similar set in Pound World for you guessed it...a pound...oops.

As well as carving pumpkins we decided to have a go at making a pumpkin pie with the leftovers and that turned out pretty well too! I'm not really into cinnamon, cloves and all those sort of spices but even I thought it tasted quite pleasant. The other half absolutely loved it so it was definitely worth the effort of picking out all the seeds (which we also toasted). I'm hoping to make some sort of curried pumpkin soup with the little portion I have left - that'll definitely be more up my street! Waste not want not and all that.

Of course, like most mums out there I wanted to dress Arthur up in an adorable Halloween costume and take loads of pictures but it didn't quite go to plan. Why? Well, Arthur hates his costume. Thankfully I bought it in age 3-4 years so fingers crossed it'll fit him next year when he'll hopefully think dressing up like a little devil and posing for lots of pictures is much more fun. One can hope...

However you're celebrating (or in some cases not celebrating) Halloween, I hope you have a lovely day!

Megan xx
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How to make your conservatory the most relaxing room in the house

Your conservatory could easily be the most pleasant space in your home thanks to its spectacular garden views, sunny disposition and peaceful, tranquil feel. From introducing comfortable furnishings made from quality suppliers such as Rattan Direct to adding some cosy accessories, here are some tips for making your conservatory relaxing.

Simply by choosing the right colours, furniture and accessories, you'll find that your underused conservatory can be transformed into a peaceful and luxurious heaven where you can take refuge at the end of a long and stressful day.

Tranquil Colours for a Peaceful Refuge
Make the wrong colour choice and you'll find that your conservatory can appear rather clinical and cold, however just by adding a touch of colour you'll find that instantly your room is changed into a welcoming and warm environment. Paint solid walls with pastel tones as this will soften its lines and create a feel of light and airiness. Most colours work well in conservatories thanks to the natural light, so don't be afraid to experiment.

Choose the Right Furniture
Even if your furniture looks beautiful, if it doesn't feel comfortable to sit on you won't get much use out of it. The key is to choose sofas and chairs which are pleasant to sit in and which invite you to sit down, relax and put your feet up.

Classic rattan upholstered sofas such as those from Rattan Direct are a perfect choice since they will never go out of style and will last for a long time. You could even pair them with a matching coffee table with a glass top that will look beautiful in any kind of conservatory, but which will be durable and practical too.

Choose Beautiful Blinds
Although the large windows in a conservatory are the primary benefit of the space thanks to the lovely views of the garden that they offer, they can also be one of the more problematic elements of this space. Large windows mean that the space can be far too hot during the summer months but also that the room can become unbearably cold during the winter.

You can resolve this problem by using energy saving blinds, which will filter out the direct sunlight during the summer months, helping to keep the space cool enough to enjoy, but which will also help to keep the room cosy during the cold weather so that you can maximise your use of this convenient part of your home all year round.

Energy saving blinds are stylish, yet incredibly practical since they can protect your furnishings and fabrics from changing colour due to fading from the strong sunlight which comes shining through the windows. Make sure to get your blinds professionally fitted for the best possible results. Made to measure conservatory blinds are the best idea since they will be customised to your individual windows and will transform the space into a relaxing oasis of calm.

Welcome Your Garden Inside
Blur the lines between your conservatory and the garden outside its window by creating a more tropical feel for your space. By adding lots of pot plants, indoor hanging baskets and vases of flowers, you can enjoy a more natural feel in your space.

Embrace exotic ferns, citrus fruit trees or bird of paradise flowers to bring the feeling of being on holiday right into your home, or even create an amazing talking point with a stunning living wall.

Accessorising Your Room
Once your conservatory has been beautifully decorated and furnished, it's time to put a few luxurious finishing touches to the space to create the perfect sanctuary. Personalise your room with memorable and special items – maybe some art that you've created yourself, a hand-made cushion or a unique souvenir that you've brought back from a special holiday.

Accessorise with stylish statement pieces like colourful cushions, a bright area rug or a spectacular and decorative mirror to reflect the light even more. A planter with an unusual shape or design would be the perfect addition and upholstery fabrics in eye-catching designs will transform your conservatory into an inviting and relaxing space to be enjoyed all year round.

Are you ready to create the perfect tranquil and relaxing oasis in your conservatory? Then visit Rattan Direct and discover a stunning range of stylish rattan furniture that will complement your space and décor, making it even more inviting, both in winter and in summer.

Megan x

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White Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe

125g of unsalted butter
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg
225g of self raising flour
1/2 tsp of salt
White chocolate bar (Milkybar tastes best - you'll use about 4 / 5 strips)

Cookies are one of my favourite things to bake because they're quick, easy and there's no decorating involved! For these, I followed my Chewy Chocolate Button Cookie recipe and just changed it up a little. As a quick reminder:

- Preheat to 180°C and leave the unsalted butter out to soften
- Cream the butter with the light brown and caster sugars
- Lightly beat the egg and mix in
- Mix in the flour and salt
- Break off 4 / 5 strips of chocolate (depending on how much you like your chocolate), cut into small chunks and mix in
- Line your tray/s with baking paper
- Roll into walnut sized balls (you can go bigger or smaller if you like but you may need to alter the baking time) and place on baking tray
- Bake for around 10 minutes until the edges are slightly golden
- Take out the oven and leave to harden on the tray
- After a few minutes transfer them onto a wire rack to cool


Megan x

Best Technological Devices for New Parents

Technology is advancing all of the time, often providing us with new devices that can simplify our daily tasks. Together with Babythingz, retailers of cosytoes (carefully designed cocoons for your little ones), we have shortlisted the latest nifty gadgets which can provide a helping hand to new parents. If you’re stuck for a Christmas gift for a new parent, read on for some tips:

Parent and baby smartband
We are all familiar with the smartbands that have been created to monitor health and fitness. The parent and baby smartband goes one step further and has been specially designed for new parents. It can be used during pregnancy to track foetal movements, exercise progress and doctors’ appointments. The parent’s fitness is tracked through steps, calories burned, distance travelled and hydration levels. After birth, the technology can be used to track feedings, pump sessions, vitamin intake, nappy changes and many other reminders to help you day-to-day. As with most technological devices these days, there is a corresponding app so that you can link the data from the band to your phone. These products have received positive reviews, with many new parents claiming that it has helped them through both pregnancy and with monitoring their new-born.

Portable white noise machine
As research revealed that the noises that a baby hears in the womb can be replicated after birth, white noise machines have been developed. They have been found to help your baby get to sleep as they find the noise soothing. Technological advancements have led to the release of the portable white noise machine. This gadget is discreet meaning that only your baby can hear the soothing sounds and it will not disturb others. The gadgets can play a variety of tracks such as heartbeat, ocean waves and raindrops. They have been developed to turn off after a certain amount of time too. So, if your baby does drift off, the sounds won’t be playing all night long.

Pacifier thermometer
As new parents will know too well, trying to take a baby’s temperature can be difficult as they wiggle and squirm out of your grasp. At the same time, it is important to monitor your baby’s temperature as it can be an indicator of a cold or perhaps they’re too hot under the blankets. The recent invention of the pacifier thermometer has addressed this issue. In the shape of a pacifier or ‘dummy’, this thermometer will fit nicely into your little one’s mouth and they won’t even know what you’re up to. A perfect alternative to the traditional thermometers which can cause your baby to become a little agitated.

Video monitors
Baby monitors have always been an essential purchase for new parents. It allows them to sleep that little bit easier, knowing that if their baby stirs they will hear it through the monitor. Through the rise of tablets and smartphones, the new monitor includes video feature. This allows you to see the baby from a different room. It also works across the internet too so you can watch your baby from work whilst the other half is babysitting.

Self-warming bottles
Many parents are reluctant to go out when they know that it will be feeding time. Often at a restaurant, it can be a worry that there won’t be a facility to warm your baby’s milk or what if they overheat it? Mimicking the design of self-warming hand warmers, self-warming bottles have been designed. There’s no need for a microwave or kettle when you have one of these handy gadgets. With one press of the button, the system heats itself up and warms the milk to the natural temperature of breast milk. You can use it as many times as you like too, simply recharge it in the microwave or pan and it is ready to be used again.

Megan x
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A lovely little trip to Cornwall

A couple of weeks ago me and the boys ventured on our first little family trip to Cornwall. We had such a lovely time so I wanted to share some of the things we did and places we visited. I'd only ever been to Cornwall as a baby so it was a new place for me to explore and it's fair to say that in just a few short days, I fell in love.

Holywell Bay
Holywell Bay beach was breathtaking. An unspoilt beach, hidden behind great sand dunes, it is definitely up there as one of the most beautiful little places I've been to. We were lucky going out-of-season as there were only a few other people on the beach and the view was simply stunning. The sea was so wild, with waves crashing against the rocks, making for the most beautiful photos! Apparently it's one of the Poldark filming locations - I can definitely see why they picked it. To get to the beach you have to walk around or over the sand dunes but it's definitely worth the short stroll. There's a car park fairly close to the beach (ideal if you have little ones that can't walk far) and it's also dog-friendly all year round.

Lappa Valley Steam Railway
Arthur's really into his trains at the moment so we thought we'd take him to Lappa Valley, which is located just outside of Newquay. The leisure park offers so much for families...steam engine rides, miniature railways, indoor and outdoor play areas, a boating lake and tearoom to name just a few things! If I'm being completely honest Arthur was perhaps a little bit young to enjoy the whole experience (after all he's not quite two yet) and was a little impatient when it came to waiting for the trains to set off but we still had plenty of fun. If you've got slightly older toddlers and children it's definitely worth a visit on a sunny day! The ticket price covers the entire park (you only pay extra for food and drink) and children 2 years and under go free. I think they also allow dogs (for a small fee) providing they're on a lead.

The Cornish Arms
After visiting Lappa Valley we had a bit of a drive round so Arthur could have a quick nap and ended up coming across The Cornish Arms in St. Merryn owned by Rick Stein. The gastro pub offers a fantastic menu with dishes to please all. My other half opted for mussels and chips and I went for the linguine with aubergine, tomatoes, chilli and feta cheese (probably one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had!) If you're heading towards Padstow it's definitely worth a stop. We were lucky it was a really sunny day so were able to eat outside in the beautiful beer garden but inside the pub looked equally as lovely.

Polly Joke
Before we headed back to our accommodation, we decided to explore Polly Joke - a cove located between Crantock and Holywell. Like Holywell Bay beach, Polly Joke was peaceful and unspoilt. It was so quiet and we were able to enjoy just a few moments of calm whilst taking in the sights, right before Arthur decided to do the world's biggest poo - toddlers and their timing eh? The beach had a stream running down the middle and I've read that it's a great place for exploring rock pools, which we'll definitely be doing with Arthur when he's a bit older. The car park was quite a walk away (about 15-20  minutes) but thankfully Arthur's a bit of a mountain goat and enjoys a good old walk. It was quite a steep hill so probably not buggy / pushchair friendly but you could definitely manage with little ones in a carrier, if they aren't able to walk it.

The weather took a bit of a turn for the worst on Saturday but we'd already planned ahead and decided that it would be a day for indoor activities. After a failed attempt at exploring Newquay Aquarium (let's just say Arthur was not impressed) we decided to take him swimming at Waterworld. The leisure pool was fantastic, with so much to offer kids (and big kids) including 2 water flumes, a water play hut, snake fountain and much more. Even little kids were allowed on the slides providing they were accompanied by an adult and much to my surprise Arthur loved them! He asked to go on AGAIN and AGAIN and I can already tell he's going to be much more of a daredevil than his mother here. If you're looking for a rainy day activity to do with kids while visiting Newquay, Waterworld is definitely worth considering.

Port Isaac
Before we headed home on the Sunday we had a quick pitstop in Port Isaac, where the TV show Doc Martin is filmed. The fishing village was much more touristy than some of the other places we visited but it had bags of character, with it's traditional white washed cottages and winding streets. There were some lovely little gift shops, great for holiday souvenirs and I also bought some of the most delicious millionaire fudge from Buttermilk!

So there we have a little rundown of a few of the places we visited on our recent Cornwall trip. I'm keen to go back soon, so if you have any recommendations please send them my way. It really is such a beautiful place. It's no wonder it was ranked as one of the top staycation locations this year!

Megan x

5 Cosy Autumn Home Picks

When I think of Autumn, beautiful coloured leaves, chunky knits and ankle boots spring to mind but when it comes to the home, it's all about being cosy. Everyone and their mother seems to be throwing around this Danish 'Hygge' word, associated with being cosy and content right now. Apparently it's now a trend. But as I'm not sure I'm cool enough to use it in proper context, I'm sticking with what I know and that's just plain old cosy home stuff. Here are my top five picks from some of my favourite online stores...

1. Terracotta & Speckled Mug @ Rose & Grey
A new season calls for new mugs (a rule I've just made up) and these terracotta & speckled mugs from Rose & Grey are just beautiful! I can't pinpoint exactly why they're 'autumnal' (...I hate the use of that word) but I can just imagine filling them up with a creamy coffee or hot chocolate, snuggling under a blanket and feeling oh-so-cosy.

2. Faux Fur Cushion Cover @ H&M
If my wardrobe could speak, it would tell you just how much I love faux fur. There's probably one-too-many jackets in there but really, who's counting? Faux fur screams autumn to me and I love this little cushion cover from H&M. I definitely think with faux fur, less is more. The key is to pick out just a couple of pieces from your home so you don't over-do it. Side note: I buy a lot of cushion covers from H&M but end up buying the 'inners' from other sites like Amazon as they tend to be cheaper.

3. Seagrass Storage Basket @ Matalan
You're probably wondering how a basket could be cosy...but stay with me. I'd be using this to store blankets, books and magazines, so they're there ready and waiting for your cosy nights in. On reflection, I'm not sure this storage basket from Matalan would actually be big enough to store a blanket now I've looked at the measurements but you get the idea!

4. Cable-Knit Blanket @ H&M
Cable-Knit is definitely an Autumn / Winter thing and this blanket from H&M looks so cosy and warm. I have a bit of a thing for pom poms at the moment (I've just treated myself to a big fluffy pom pom key ring) so the design is right up my street. This would look lovely draped over your sofa with the faux fur cushion to accompany it.

5. Glass Bell Jar with Star Fairy Lights @ Not On The High Street
My favourite pick of them all is this glass bell jar, filled with beautiful fairy lights from Lights4Fun. I feel like it'd add a touch of magic to your cosy space or make for an enchanting table centrepiece.

Megan x

Buttery Lemon Biscuits Recipe

This week marks National Baking Week so I thought I'd share one of my latest bakes - Buttery Lemon Biscuits inspired by this recipe on the Good Food Channel website! The buttery lemon biscuits are so simple to make but taste delicious.

180g plain flour
1 lemon (zest, grated)
125g butter
50g caster sugar

For the method I suggest heading over to the original source I used, as I don't want to steal someone else's recipe!

Funnily enough I ended up having to use a Gü pot as a cookie-cutter as I couldn't find mine! I have about ten million Gü pots - a scary reminder of how many cheesecakes we've eaten over the years. But anyway, it was the perfect cookie-cutter alternative, creating a great size and shaped biscuit. I baked the biscuits for around 7 minutes and felt that was the perfect time!

It's strange really because I don't usually like lemon flavoured sweet treats but these biscuits really are delicious. They melt in the mouth with their gorgeous buttery texture and are somewhat refreshing, especially with a nice cup of tea. They went down a treat with my family so I'm sure they'll become a regular bake from now on!

I'm keen to do some baking with Arthur soon and have an easy-peasy cornflake and cherry traybake recipe to share, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

Megan x