I am launching a new Linky. Gasp! Gulp! Take a deep breath.

As a full time working Mama, I have limited time with Sprog. I get the expected Mama guilt’s about not being around all of the time and not making always making the most of our time together for Sprog’s developmental benefit but I have a plan to change all of that and I want your help.

I have a plan to have a prompt or theme for each week and I want your inspiration when it comes to free play, creative activities and imaginative play. We must be a creative bunch if we able to write wonderful posts and maintain blogs but how are we sharing this with our kids? Show me your ideas?

Imagination Matters prompts

The Linky will launch every Monday and I will keep it open all week for link ups so that you have loads of opportunity to be inspired by other posts and record your amazing activities.

Here are the rules:

1. Link up any posts that are relevant to the week’s theme… old or new, I don’t mind.

2. Attach the Imagination Matters badge to your post.  I am not technological competent, it took me a while to create this so please use it!

3. Comment on the post before yours and another one.  It’s only fair that we share some imaginative love around.

4. If you tweet me @mamavsteacher and use the hashtag #imaginationmatters, I will retweet them and share the creativity.

So final thing for now is to show off the badge below, remember how long it has taken me to make this and wish you a happy play time until 8th June when we will launch with our first theme of “At Sea”.

<div align="center"><a href="" title="Mamavsteacher"><img src="" alt="Mamavsteacher" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!


Balancing Act… Single Parent Pessimist


Welcome to the very first edition of Balancing Act.  I am so excited to be able to share the stories of lovely Mama’s and Daddy’s who are all working so hard to ensure that their families have the best possible bubbles to live in.

I have been fascinated by the reactions that people have had to me when I was on maternity leave, when I was getting ready to go back to work, and now that I am back at work.  I find that some people are very judgemental about how they expect families to work.  Well, I’ve got news for you everyone, we’re all different, we all have different needs and that is one of the amazing things about us.

My aim is to share the stories of families of all different types and spread the word that we are all playing a #BalancingAct to get through and raise our little people the best way we can. Let’s celebrate the diversity between our families, let’s not judge each other.

So, to start us off I’d like to hand you over to the Single Parent Pessimist.

  1. Tell me about your family

I’m a single parent to my 2 and a half year old, Chunk. He has no contact with his father for many reasons and I have been parenting alone since he was 6 weeks old.

Claire Jocobs

  1. What was your job/position before you started your family?

I was a social worker within fostering.

  1. What was you work-life balance like?

I had a good balance because it was a 9-5pm job most of the time. Weekends were for socialising and enjoying my freedom.

  1. How did you find being away from work when you were on maternity leave?

I liked being away from work as I found it quite a stressful environment, but it was a hard time financially and also with what was happening with his father at the time and how it affected me emotionally alongside coping with my very first baby.

  1. Have you returned to some kind of work since having baby and how did you come to that decision?

I went back to my job for 9 months (3.5 days per week) when Chunk was 14 months old, but gave the job up as it was very difficult to manage in terms of childcare and trying to get that balance. Chunk was being looked after by my mum and sister on different days, and Chunk was being parented in different ways by all of us and it was affecting his routine.

I also missed him and knew that I would never get that time back with him, so I took a big risk and went self-employed as an independent social worker.

For the first few months I had no work, but have slowly started to get some work including work for court. It’s hard because I work when he is asleep every night, so social life is non-existent, but it means I get to see him during the day and he is so much more settled. I do my visits when he has nursery three mornings a week.

  1. How (if at all) has work changed since you returned (if you did)?

I now work for myself and am having to learn about being my own boss, and there is a risk of how I manage when I have no work, as his father only pays £2.50 per fortnight through the CSA.

The work I do has slightly changed, but in a good way as writing and assessments are my strongest skill.

  1. Describe your work-life balance now in 3 words.

It’s not very balanced. I have my son all day and work most evenings, but I’m trying to be more organised and find ways to start having a social life so am hoping this will slowly change, as I would like to find a partner at some point!

  1. Would you change anything about the family and work balance that you currently have?

I would want to not to have to work so many evenings, but I know that when he goes to school in a couple of years that this will change because I will have more time in the day to complete my work.



Twitter: @vampybear




If you think you’d like to get involved in this feature and share your story, please leave a comment or tweet me @mamavsteacher

My ‘Tropic’ Party

On Thursday night, I hosted a ‘Tropic’ party at my house as a return to work treat for myself and some friends. It was great to think that after the first few hours back at work, that there was something lovely happening to make us all chill out for a while.

Our Tropic Ambassador, Lisa, is super friendly and a friend from the teaching world so she knew exactly what we were going through in the first couple of days back at school. She was able to really identify with us and how all of the products would help each of us. We weren’t all teachers and she could recommend certain products to certain people, specific to their age, skin type and any skin problems.

I was really impressed by the Tropic range.  All of the products are Vegan friendly, cruelty free (no animal testing) and contain very little, if any, chemicals.  Only a few products do have some preservatives in as demanded by law.  The company’s founder Susan Ma (The Apprentice 2011 competitor) is passionate about natural products and Lisa told us that her motto is “If you wouldn’t eat it, why would you put it on your skin?” After all, your skin is your biggest organ.

Now much to the horror of my work colleagues, and my mother, and my friends (the latter 2 were already fully aware of this so it came as no shock) I am terrible with having a face skin care routine.  Really terrible, and I know this.  After Christmas this year, I treated myself to a decent foundation, cleanser and moisturiser. I have used them.  Although, did you know that these are designed to last about 3 months per product?! Who knew?! I’m still going on the same cleanser and moisturiser as I bought in January.  This revelation and my colleagues reactions sent me bright red and Lisa very professionally carried on giving me my demonstration facial, but now pointed out even more benefits of each stage.

I think everyone is concerned that I’m going to look like an old woman far before my time!  Well, hopefully not any more.  I loved the smell and texture of the products.  The ethos of the company is something that I feel really comfortable with as a “grown up” – I use that term loosely because I obviously haven’t been looking after my skin as a “grown up” should.

So I’ve ordered a few products including the fabulous Lip Love and the Vitamin Toner. I also fell in love with the waterproof eye liner – it’s like magic …no smudging at all. Perfect for my tired teacher/mama eyes as was the Eye Refresh Roll-On.

liner lip love roll on

It’s always a nice perk when there’s a hostess gift involved too, and I was lucky enough to bag a Skin Revise Nourishing Cream Concentrate for hosting.  I could have bought so much more though.  A couple of my colleagues with eczema were really interested in the products as they have a proven record with hugely reducing/eliminating eczema and psoriasis such as Tamanu Bam.  I think one bought it to try it as Tropic offer a 30 day money back guarantee so she can really test it to see if it makes a difference.

I would definitely recommend booking a party with Lisa if you live in the Sussex area or near to Crawley (she travelled down from Crawley to Worthing for my party).  If you are interested in hosting a party, visit Lisa’s website. From here you can book a party or order products directly from her. Handily, as Tropic wants to be as environmentally friendly as possible, their catalogues are available online and are really accessible.

My friends and I had a great time and it was a perfect way to relax. I know that they were all really impressed with the products and how natural they felt.

If you enjoy this post, check out some of my others, or follow me on Twitter (@MrsBudgie12) or instagram (@mamavsteacher).

Throwback Thursday