Friday, 19 September 2014

A real mix of a day!

It's been a fun day today. I started with enjoying the early morning light from my kitchen whilst persuading my children that one of them had to feed the guinea pigs:


After a day discussing the teaching of reading and phonics plus how to write Masters level essays it was a nice surprise to find owls at our local Pets at Home:


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful: The Sun is Still Shining! #R2BC


I am sure we are all thinking that this nice weather can't last but making the most of it whilst it is here! Thanks for everyone who joined in last week and I do hope that I managed to visit you all... Now for this week's reasons to be cheerful for me:

1) A mended car!

My car has been playing up on and off all summer and I thought it was just the heat. The final straw came on Friday when it refused to restart as I tried to leave the supermarket and get to my training course.. As I was close to my garage I called them and they came with a courtesy car and took mine away. Not long after I finished for the day they finished fitting a brand new starter motor. So I now have a reliable car again - even if the bank balance took a little knock..

2) Confirmation of student status

I am now officially a student at Cumbria University as the paperwork took a while to clear! Nice to be able to get my NUS discount card for special offers. It should help to pay for all those text books I need..

3) Torchlight

I've already done a full blog post on the carnival as it was such an amazing evening. Made me so proud of our adopted town:

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

10 ways student life in 2014 is different than in the 1990s!

Having bitten the bullet and gone back to university 20 years after I left I am finding some huge differences:

1) Tuition Fees


I was an undergraduate back in the days when all UK students had their tuition fees paid by the government. No worries about paying back money when we finished it was all just done for us.


Now I have to borrow £9,000 off the government (still waiting to hear whether I have got it!) and pay it back once I earn a decent wage. It makes going to university a harder decision to make when you have that hanging over you..


2) Living Costs

I wasn't eligible for any grants for living costs but my parents gave me a decent monthly allowance. I worked every vacation to boost up the funds and made use of the bank's overdraft facility to the max. Student loans were just being introduced but I only borrowed £1,500 over the 4 years at university.


This time I have qualified for a small bursary but it is less than 2/3 of what I was earning. I have had to apply for maintenance loans and child care costs help to bridge the gap. Scarily none of these have been approved yet 2 weeks into my course..


3) Technology


When I enrolled at Swansea in 1991 I took with me a non Windows 286 PC to type up my essays on. We had lessons in how to use the new fangled Windows and used a Mainframe computer to write code to analyse data. There was no Internet.. communication was via pigeon holes in the department.


Much of our course material is on the university's Blackboard computer system. We are expected to have laptops to bring to training sessions. Communication is via e-mail and we use smart phones to capture evidence of our training.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Why Do I Write?

I have been nominated by the lovely Lisa over at Twins, Tiaras and Tantrums who I met at Butlins last October! She has been passed some questions for me to answer and then to pass the baton on to some willing victims volunteers. So here I go...

1) Why do I write?

Back in the mists of time (well 2008) I started to blog as way of documenting my life and how I was trying to improve things. It became a good outlet when my marriage broke up and a way of seeking help. Since I moved to Cumbria 4 years ago it has had a much more positive spin as I try to focus on the good things in my life. Writing about them helps to maintain my positive mental state!

2) What am I working on?

Ironically having worked hard to get the blog to where it is the site is taking more of a back seat in my life. I have started training as a teacher and finding it hard to find time to blog or do anything worth blogging about. There will still be posts about adventures that we get up to in this stunning county but the commercial side of the blog will taper off. I am also keeping Reasons to be Cheerful going on alternate months with http://www.ojosworld.com/.

3) How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

Now that is a hard question! I definitely have a Cumbrian focus which isn't too common in parenting blogs. Otherwise its not really got a single focus apart from trying to always be positive and help other parents realise that being a single parent isn't all bad news..

4) How does my writing process work?

I am not much of a forward planner so I tend to blog about what we have been getting up to that day/week/month. Being a keen, if amateur photographer, I am forever taking photos of our surroundings or activities. These are often the basis for my blogposts. 

Now I nominate Ghost Writer Mummy, Ojo's World and Midlife Singlemum. Look forward to seeing their posts next Monday!