The Learning Success System uses various approaches to overcoming learning difficulties, using new findings in neuroscience, as well as tried and tested techniques developed by experts in the field. New exercises are delivered daily via email, and there is also a support forum too.
The first principle of the Learning Success System is small steps. In Japanese culture, it’s called Kaizen. It comes from the idea that crash learning doesn’t work, at least not long-term; continuous improvement over time is more effective. Therefore the tasks are only brief but to work well, the programme should be carried out regularly, although the exact amount in terms of length of time and frequency are flexible. Tasks can be approached in the way that works best for your child/ family.
There is a huge wealth of information over on The Learning Success Blog but as a very brief summary, the programme works on the following strategies for better learning:
Build up micro-skills
The exercises focus on developing different skills such as working memory, auditory discrimination, cross- lateral coordination and other skills that help across many areas of learning. The exercises are quick and simple, but also fun and engaging. They are all very much active learning techniques, not passive teaching. (This is a good thing!)
The Learning Success System is available at the discounted reader price of $197 for a 12 month subscription, with a 90 day guarantee. You can purchase it here. (This is an affiliate link. This means I get a fee for each person that signs up, this does not cost the buyer anything extra. Thank you for supporting me in this way!)
One lucky reader can win a 12 month subscription to The Learning Success System. Enter via rafflecopter below.
Do you get stuck with gift ideas? If you are anything like me, the answer is probably yes! I love thoughtful presents; something handmade, personal or unique in some way. But sometimes it can be difficult to come up with something that really fits the bill. So when I found about naming your very own star, I was excited to discover such a fab gift idea! It is ideal for the person who has everything (I bet they don’t have their very own star!), anyone with an interest in stargazing or who loves the outdoors in general, or for someone who just likes something that bit different!
Star Name Registry is the UK’s number one online registry company who offers this unique gift. There are a variety of packages to choose from, with prices ranging from £14.99 for a standard star to £69.99 for a binary star gift set, as well as several other options inbetween. Their gift set version of each package comes with a framed certficate beautifully presented in a silver box, whereas the regular version comes in an envelope. If you need it in a hurry, you can choose to have it sent via email for an extra £4.99 (sent within 12 hours of order received) or £6.99 for next day delivery (paper version). Gift sets can also be sent via next day special delivery for £8.49. So handy to remember as a last minute present too!
I was sent an extra bright star gift set to review. This lovely set includes my very own star, which I not only got to name but was also able to choose which constellation I wanted it in too, an explanation of the star, free download of software, map and framed certificate in a gorgeous silver box. It does make a really unusual and very lovely gift.
I took quite sometime trying to decide on the name of my star and considered a couple of different options; for example, I thought about naming it after my daughter, or even her nickname ‘Squiggle’. But then I came up with the perfect idea: I chose our family name, because then the star represents all of us together. Wherever any of us are, we can look up at the night sky and see our star, and know we are together. It even includes our furbabies! Perfect.
If you would like the chance to win your own star naming, enter my rafflecopter giveaway below. Good luck!
Are you looking to brighten up your home? As I have written about before, I do love unique interior designs and I think that photo wallpaper can be so eye- catching! A well chosen design can really create the atmosphere that you are looking for in a room; whether that be a nice chilled out vibe, a fun place to play, or even to provide some extra visual stimulation to a sensory room. Whatever your aim, customised wallpaper can help you to create the look you want to achieve.
This custom wallpaper by Colour Graphics looks brilliant and would undoubtedly transform your walls and brighten up your room. It comes in traditional wallpaper, which requires standard wallpaper paste, or a handy self-adhesive version that doesn’t require anything else; it is almost like putting up a giant sticker! The design can be printed in whatever size you need too.
One lucky reader can win up to £150 custom wallpaper printing from Colour Graphics; to be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, simply enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!
November Rain is an awesome stylish brand of poncho that launched back in November 2016 in USA, and are now available in the UK too. I was kindly sent one of these funky ponchos to review and also have a giveaway for one lucky reader to win one too! (See further down to enter).
November Rain ponchos come in a choice of three lovely designs. I admit I deliberated for sometime on my decision before opting for the plain Ocean Blue design (because I have lots of patterned tops and figured this would be more versatile if I might want to wear it partially unzipped anytime!) I was genuinely really drawn to both of the patterned designs too though; love them!
The poncho comes in a little pouch so it is easy to keep it in your bag then throw it on quickly when needed. (Make sure it is dry before you pop it back in the pouch though of course!) It is made with enough room that it can fit any size and shape, and will fit over layers too. It was abit shorter than I imagined; given the fact that I’m only 5 ft 1, I was surprised it didn’t go at least to my knees to allow for taller people. At least that meant Squiggle could also use it too if really necessary lol!
They are very well designed, with poppers to make ‘sleeves’ and a zip fastening at the front, plus a detachable hood too. The ponchos are printed using sublimation, which is an eco-friendly waterless method of printing. They also have reinforced stitching and heat sealed seams, meaning they are heavy duty and fully waterproof. It feels comfortable and lightweight to wear though, and looks stylish compared to most!
The poncho retails at £49 in the UK but, as I said, it is great quality and is intended to be quite the opposite of the cheap disposable ones you usually find; this eco-friendly poncho is designed to last a lifetime. This is one of the main reasons I like it; it is much better for the environment to invest in one that will last, rather than create more waste using disposable or short-lived versions.
But my absolute favourite thing? The brand pledges a full 10% of all turnover to water projects in developing countries. And November Rain is not limiting the resources given to just clean drinking water, they are also funding irrigation projects for crops in areas where water can be the main limiting factor for people being able to put food on the table. Thanks to their popularity, the company has already funded a hydroponic vegetable growing system at a children’s rescue mission in Northern Thailand valued at $3,000USD.
November Rain ponchos are born from Belinda Coker, the same founder of Envirosax – the original designer reusable bag. She explains: “After the success of Envirosax, I realized the importance of sharing the wealth created with those not so fortunate. It’s not all about the money, it’s about creating something that people love with benefits that keep flowing to those in need.” It is so important to make conscious choices, and I totally support brands who actively protect the environment, especially when they also give back in some way. So I am really impressed with this brand!
Chalkola kindly offered us some of their brilliant chalk markers to review. We were sent their newly launched pack of 21 markers, which includes 15 colour chalk pens and 6 metallic markers in the set, and also a pack of their chunky 15mm platinum series markers too.
These funky chalk pens can be used on any non-porous surface; such as glass, mirrors, whiteboards, chalkboards or plastic. You simply wipe them off again when you are done. They are non-toxic and child-friendly so are therefore great for a range of purposes. Lots of fun!
Squiggle and I decided to get creative doodling on our patio doors! When you use the pens for the first time it takes a bit of shaking and pressing down to get the flow started. However, once they get going, they then work very well.
The colours come out nice and bright, and there is good variety within the set. We really enjoyed using these chalk markers, and even our cat got involved in the fun! Squiggle loves any opportunity to get creative and is a big fan of these. (Oh and using the patio door is great for doing lovely big gross motor movements too by the way!)
The Chalkola chalk markers then rub off with a damp cloth, although I am sure my landlord will be very pleased to know that I did test this out before letting Squiggle loose on our patio doors just to be sure! I made a little video clip to show how easily it wipes off…
One lucky reader can win a set of these 21 markers by Chalkola. To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, enter the competition via rafflecopter below. T&Cs apply. Competition ends on 20th March 2017.
I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to interview inspirational author Penelope Magoulianiti. Her book ‘Women, Motherhood & Independence: A Guide to Financial Freedom, Beauty & Confidence After Birth’ aims to help women achieve their goals and be successful, with clear strategies and practical advice on how to do so. Here is our interview…
Your book is inspirational to other women, but who is most inspirational to you?
My mentor and the person who saved my life literally is Anthony Robbins. Many years ago, I attended my first seminar in personal development; the UPW (Unleash Power Within) with Anthony Robbins. It was the best decision I ever made and it changed my life.
I gather you faced many challenges during your childhood. What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest fear was money, lacking money to be more precise. I also had self-esteem issues due to many financial problems faced by my family while I was growing up. To wake up and fall asleep with the same thought day in – day out was exhausting. The universal law is that you bring to your life what you put energy in and because my focus was so intense and my fear was so big, I found myself at age 29 being completely broke.
It took lots of courage and determination to change my life, but I did and I’ve never looked back since then.
Your bio states you want to leave your children a legacy to be proud of. What are you most proud of to date?
The fact that I don’t live any more within my comfort zone. The fact that one by one I am managing to achieving my goals and living my dream life. I’ve always wanted to write a book and influence as many women as I can to step up and follow their dreams. I did it. Taking into consideration the comments I am receiving from my readers, I believe that I am influencing their lives. The fact that it has also been translated into three languages tells me that what I am sharing in the book is of interest.
Another thing that I am proud of is my decision to escape from the corporate world and to start a completely different career. Starting a new career at the age of 40 was petrifying but I’ve been always honest with my kids. I talk to them and let them know about my successes but at the same time I’ve been always honest about my failures and setbacks too. I try to teach them that we don’t give up our dreams with the first setback or failure and to succeed we need to keep pushing and trying.
I love the quotes you share in your book. What is your favourite quote and why?
‘There is no passion to be found to play small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living’ – Nelson Mandela.
I love this quote because many of us, are settling for something less out of fear of not being good enough or capable enough to achieve everything that our heart desires. However, when we settle we don’t live we just exist. Life passes by without meaning and we become like robots. When however, we pursue something that excites us, we are growing. We are looking forward to go to work every single day and we are not perceiving it at all as work. We are alive and happy and that makes all the difference in the world.
If you could only share three pieces of advice from your book what would you tell people?
1.To stop reacting to what life brings and start planning their lives. It’s time to stop trying to fulfil other people’s agendas and start working towards their own.
2.Accept and love ourselves. Understand that each one of us has a unique talent and all of us have something great to give to this world.
3.Take control of your life and stop relying on other people to do it for you. You are the only one responsible for your successes and failures. The minute you take full responsibility for everything that is happening to you; that is when your life will start changing.
Obviously your book is aimed at women specifically, but do you feel there is any value in men reading your book too?
I have many men who read the book and they found it very useful, so yes, even though the title is aimed to women, the principles and techniques I am describing in the book can benefit both sexes.
What advice would you give to mothers who are trying to juggle everything?
We need to understand that even though we are capable we are not superwomen. We need to concentrate on the things that are the most important, the ones that are going to make the biggest difference in our lives and delegate or stop doing the rest. It’s not easy to do it but by setting priorities we can achieve more.
I have created a list is called: “The Ultimate Jugglers Task List – For Mums who have so much to do”
This is a list where you write down the five most important things that you must do on a daily basis to move forward with your projects, to get closer to achieve a goal whatever that goal may be. I have been using this for many years now and it has changed my life completely.
If any of your readers would like to have access to it, they can email at firstname.lastname@example.org using the title “Jugglers List” and we will send it to them free of charge.
What other projects do you have in the pipeline? Any news to share with us?!
I am in the process of launching my online product called “21-Day Transformation Program for a Balanced Life”. This program consists of 9 video- lessons where you receive one by one every three days and it gives you tools to help you do what you need to do in order to create more balance in your life.
Also I’ve started my research for my second book which hopefully will be ready by the end of this year.
About The Author
Penelope Magoulianiti used to work as a private banker for many years. From a very young age, she had to face many challenges, both financial and social. The challenges she faced through those difficult times make her more determined to succeed in life.
When she became a mom, she felt the urgency to pass to her own children a legacy that they would be proud of. She wanted to become a good example for her son and daughter; a successful businesswoman, and entrepreneur dedicating her life to helping her fellow women in becoming successful in their niche.
With the economy getting worse every year and the corporate world looking not so promising, she finally took the decision to quit her job and move forward in creating her own business. Her dream to help other women in gaining their financial independence while being good mothers and living their lives more fully became her ultimate goal.
With her experience throughout her working life in the corporate world, the invaluable knowledge gained through her mentors, together with her home life as a wife and mother of two, Penelope delivers her message in a simple and to-the-point manner that will help women to regain their drive to succeed and the determination to conquer their dreams and ambitions.
Penelope’s book Women, Motherhood & Independence: A Guide to Financial Freedom, Beauty & Confidence After Birth is available in Kindle and paperback version on Amazon
This book is intended to help all of Women who wish to continue living their dreams, achieving their goals and becoming successful without having to compromise their dreams and desires because of Motherhood.
In this book you will find strategies and ideas that you can apply to your life daily in order to stay on top of things, become more creative, more energetic, and healthier irrespective of how much sleep you have managed the night before.
It will encourage and guide you to step out of your comfort zone and claim what is rightfully yours… your success, your financial freedom, your confidence, and beauty.
It is my belief that we can achieve anything we want, in life if we are clear about what it is that we want, make a commitment to become successful, and then take the necessary steps and actions required to achieve that success.
Whether you are already in a career, you have your business, you would like to start a new business, or you just want to be more present and engage more in family life and activities, Women, Motherhood and Independence will help you utilize your talents, become more focused and achieve more in less time with less stress.
To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Women, Motherhood and Independence enter via the rafflecopter app below.
When bakerdays tweeted me asking if I would like to review their letterbox gift cake I was quite excited! Admittedly, I am not a particularly big fan of cake generally (I know, I know… it’s weird) but I was really intrigued by the concept of a cake that can literally be delivered straight through the letterbox. Would that really work?! I had to find out. And I knew that Squiggle would jump at the chance to share some cake with me too!
The website is very user-friendly and there is a massive selection of designs to choose from for all different occasions, including options to personalise with text or an image. I spent ages trying to pick my favourite design because there are so many great choices!
I finally settled on this design with my own personal message that I knew would make Squiggle giggle…
There were a selection of sponges to choose from too. I really like the fact that all of the designs in their entire range can be ordered as a gluten-free or dairy-free option, rather than there being a restricted selection of choices, as is often the case. It is worth noting that the dairy-free option is not vegan, as it does contain eggs.
Whilst we avoid gluten as much as we can, medically we do not need to be strict about it, so I decided on the dairy-free option instead. We do generally try to eat as closely to vegan as we can manage anyway but, apart from anything else, I was keen to test how the dairy-free version tasted!
The cake didn’t take long to arrive and, as promised, it plopped through my letterbox without fuss. The box landed face down and I must say I felt a slight wave of anticipation, as well as excitement, as I picked it up to check the contents!
I need not have worried; the cake comes very well packaged, secured in a cake tin, inside the cardboard box. It also has plastic packaging to keep it fresh and well protected within the tin itself. It even has thoughtful instructions on how to remove it carefully without damage!
The cake itself was delicious! The sponge was light and fluffy, with a lovely buttery filling (which incidently is on the bottom of the cake as opposed to in the middle, due to the letterbox design!) and the icing was soft and tasty. Squiggle was very impressed too; she declared “thank you for sending the cake, I love it!”
We demolished it pretty quickly, but the 5″ letterbox size is easily big enough for 3 or 4 generous portions, as it suggests. We really enjoyed it.
I like the novelty factor of getting a cake delivered directly through the letterbox, it was nicely presented and it was yummy too! So I think a letterbox cake would make a great unique gift for Valentines Day, or any other occasion.
Today, the wonderfully creative and very lovely Stephanie from Avec Amour is chatting to me about her recent wedding and honeymoon, and how she found herself running a lovely little business selling gorgeous handcrafted home decor items and gifts shortly after…
Thanks for taking part Stephanie! Tell me about yourself and your business…
My name is Stephanie and I’m almost 23 years old. I live in a town called Workington which is in Cumbria, North West of England. My hobbies include: animals, shopping, photography, horror movies, travelling (especially to USA) and anything that involves creativity! This year has been a very busy one for me because in the summer something wonderful happened; I married my best friend, Joe.
Joe was my high school sweetheart and we have now been together for over 8 years! Like all relationships it has been a roller coaster but I’m lucky and grateful to have such a loving, caring and family-oriented man for a Husband. We are planning to travel a bit more before we start our family.
After leaving school, I took (a few more than average!) wrong turns in my life. Joe started an apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering which he absolutely loved, so I thought an apprenticeship would suit me too after hearing so many great things about them. I was an apprentice teaching assistant in a primary school for one year and then they didn’t have enough funding to keep me after that.
For a while I took some time to think about something else I could maybe try. I thought that because I am a very organised person, maybe office work would be suitable for me. I worked in three different office environments in 2014 and 2015 and because I was young with a sensitive personality, I was picked on and bullied in all three of these places with the last one being being the worst. It got so bad that Joe and my parents told me that they wanted me to leave, so I did for my sake of my health.
I have since got my health back on track and I’m much happier! My creativity started to shine through at the beginning of 2016 and at least once a week I got the urge to be creative. The results were handmade wedding invitations and a lot of handmade wedding decor; and subsequently many compliments from our wedding guests!
We spent our honeymoon in Florida. We did the lot, including Disney World and Universal Studios, which includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! My Husband and I are both huge fans of Disney and Harry Potter. We thoroughly enjoyed our honeymoon; Joe even more so, because it was his first time in the USA.
So after getting home I got the urge to create some Disney and Harry Potter themed home decor items, and then I thought… I love doing things like this, maybe I could start a little hobby business, because why not? Take a risk and do it, because life is too short. Joe was 100% for it too because all he wants is for me to be happy. Then I gathered up all of my ideas and started my business.
Wow. That’s such a lovely answer, thank you for sharing!
Do you have any specific goals or hopes for your business this coming year?
My only goals are: to create items that brighten up the days of others and to continue to gain joy out of it. If I’m inspired enough to come up with any ideas for a brand new product then that would be a bonus!
Love it, what a great goal!
Tell me one random fact about yourself…
A random fact.. I’m addicted to drinking tea!
What is your favourite outdoor activity?
I will admit that I don’t do lots of outdoor activities at the moment but I enjoy the occasional long forest walk with my Husband.
A lovely long walk in the woods is very relaxing I find! And you live in such a beautiful part of England too; fabulous for outdoor walks I’m sure! So if you could tell someone visiting your part of the country for the first time just one outdoor place they simply must go, where would you suggest?
For someone visiting Cumbria for the beautiful outdoors and scenery, I would recommend Whinlatter because the forests are absolutely beautiful and Go Ape! is also there, which is great fun for families/couples.
Thank you so much for chatting to me Stephanie, and all the best with your fab business.
She has generously offered a wonderful prize to one lucky winner, consisting of a pretty Lace & Ribbon Candle Jar (with a choice of 10 different ribbon colours) and a gorgeous Themed Picture Frame (either Disney, Harry Potter or Wedding themed). Enter via rafflecopter below. (T&Cs apply)
I am so excited to have the lovely Kerry of Discovery bubbas as my very first guest on this new series! Here she is, talking to us about being an ‘outside of the box’ thinker, her love of outdoors, and her future hopes…
Welcome Kerry, and thanks for being my first guest 🙂 Tell me about yourself!
I am a mummy to one 2.5 year old girl and a wife to a musical and hard working man. I was a nursery nurse prior to having my little one, so I am qualified and experienced in childcare and early years education. I initially took up some nannying when my daughter was 11months old, which was lovely because I could take her with me and she became friends with the family’s own little girl. I stopped nannying because I was at the same time just developing my ideas and starting up my Discovery bubbas group- which is sensory, messy exploration and creative play sessions.
Sounds interesting! What inspired you to set these sessions up?
I decided to set up and run these type of sessions/class because I love it! All of that kind of play was my favourite thing to plan for and watch the children enjoy, and it is very beneficial to their development as it links in with many areas in the EYFS- EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE.
Totally relate- we love creative activities and really value the importance of sensory activities/ messy play too! I’d love to hear more about your family and how you spend your time, when you’re not busy with Discovery bubbas of course!
As for my family life, my husband and I like to think of ourselves as ‘outside of the box thinkers’ – in tune with the wider picture of things, and we are quite compassionate people. If we could, we would live in an open space or wood and help animals and people who need it. I am very much into nature and natural ways of living and approaches to health, and I do try to use natural based products for home and on ourselves. I try to get outside every day with my daughter, even if it’s a quick play in the garden or park, but I do love a good walk and climb of the trees in the woods. My daughter has developed quite good balance from walking along fallen tree trunks. 🙂
We love outdoors and nature here at Living Life Our Way… Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?
Our favourite outdoor place to visit is Shenley Park, its just a lovely place to visit with the orchard and little wooded bit to walk through. Plus tea rooms for a bite to eat or drink, and a little animal area with rabbits, guinea pigs and chicken to look at, and feed if you want to. There’s also a walled garden which regularly runs events or can just be a nice quiet place to walk round and sit.
It sounds like somewhere we would love too, especially with the animals to feed! What’s your favourite animal and why?
We have 2 cats and I always have had cats since I was little, love them, they can be playful and affectionate but also they have their own personalities. I have also always loved Dolphins- not quite sure why I just think they are magnificent animals, so intelligent and kind and interesting to watch.
It’s been lovely getting to know you! Anything else you want to tell us about yourself or Discovery bubbas before you go?
I am hoping to develop a range of busy bags, create, make and do craft kits, other ‘on the go’ activity kits, mini treasure/discovery baskets, STEAM challenge/activity kits and maybe more.
Sounds exciting- we will watch this space! Thanks so much for taking part!
Kerry is also kindly giving away four free Discovery bubbas sessions to one lucky winner! Simply enter via rafflecopter below.
T&Cs apply. Please also remember that the classes are for children from 6 months to 5 years old, and you need to be able to get to these Hertfordshire based sessions under your own steam – transport is not provided! Thank you and good luck 🙂
When The Curiosity Box tweeted that they were looking for bloggers to review one of their science boxes, we jumped at the chance! As home educators, we are always on the look out for new educational activities, and this one is perfect for us. It is a fun and fascinating science box aimed at 7-11 year olds that can either be purchased as a one-off or via subscription. There are also two size options; nano or mega. Prices for the larger box start at £18 based on one year subscription paid upfront, or £25 per box on a no-commitment basis. The smaller box is £9.95. (Costs include postage and packaging). Gift vouchers are available too, so it would also make a nice Christmas present!
I received a mega box to review, which includes everything needed to complete three separate science activities. Each box has a different theme, for example this box is described as ‘Putting the POW! in Power’ and is all about exploring electricity. It came well packaged and clearly labelled with simple, easy to follow instructions. I really like the tone of the writing; everything is well explained and engaging without being patronising. It also includes some very interesting and inspirational information cards about the history of science and women scientists.
The three activities are varied and each one teaches the concept using a playful, hands-on approach. Scientific explanations are provided and I feel the information is pitched at a level to make it a truly educational experience for children within the targeted age range. They last a varying amount of time, depending on the activity itself, how quickly the child works and how much discussion occurs. We personally spent a couple of hours in total doing two of the activities. We had a lovely time together, with lots of laughter and of course plenty of learning too!
One example of the electricity activities the box contains is exploring circuits. The idea of this activity is simple but effective; design a creature with light-up eyes by creating a circuit using copper foil tape and two LED bulbs.
Squiggle really enjoyed following the instructions to make the circuit and only needed a minimal amount of help to work out what to do. (Obviously all children have different needs so the amount of support required would depend on the child).
She decided she would rather make the circuit before designing her character. She spent quite sometime carefully making her circuit.
Initially the light bulbs didn’t light up. Not to be disheartened, we used our knowledge of circuits to test each of the components separately. We used some of the resources from one of the other activities to do this, but I realised afterwards we didn’t need to and had actually made it more complicated than necessary; all part of the learning process though! However, it was useful that the boxes are generous with the resources that they provide anyway.
After checking the battery pack, bulbs and leads, it was evident that the issue was with the copper foil tape. More specifically, it was on the corner joints that the circuits stopped working. Testing it all out deepened her learning experience and investigation skills, and became part of the fun. Plus it was a good reminder that the learning is in the doing, not just in the results (as it quite rightly says in the guide too, a valuable point!) But it was most satisfying to figure it out and get it working nonetheless!
We really enjoyed The Curiosity Box and would definitely love to use them again in future. I think we would particularly enjoy The Cool Crystals Box and The Super Seeds Box personally! On that note, I am hosting a giveaway for one very lucky reader to win a Nano Crystals Box! To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize, simply enter via the rafflecopter widget below. (T&Cs apply).
Last but not least, my readers can enjoy 10% discount on orders using the code LIVECURIOUS10. Visit their website www.curiosity-box.com to shop or subscribe.
You can also follow them on social media for more ideas and inspiration too!
Disclosure: I was sent The Curiosity Box free in order to provide an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.