Getting into online teaching…

I get so many DMS about this that I have finally decided to write a blog post about it.

It’s a little different than our normal content (I like to stick to the theme of my blog) so I was reluctant to write this at first but I think it’s important that I do share this. I’m sure I’ll be helping someone out there that wants to spend more time with their kids!

So if you’ve read the blog and you’ve browsed our Instagram the you know it seems like we go EVERYWHERE and it kinda feels like we do! A lot of people ask how I find the time and the money. Well I teach online. Sounds crazy right?

That’s exactly what I thought! I joined a Facebook group a few years back. It was something along the lines of “stay at home jobs for mums” Honestly it was pants! It was full of other mums trying to get you to join their “team” to sell Avon or Usbourne books (no shade but that was not for me) then someone privately messaged me and told me about a company called DADAABC. A company where you can teach English to Chinese students. I thought it was a scam at first but after some research I found out it was legit!

I started to do more research and looked at a few reviews on a website called Glassdoor. Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies and their management.

I read too many reviews of past employees saying they didn’t get paid so I decided to not go with this company.

Facebook groups

I then found out there’s a huge Facebook community of online teachers. There are so many different groups where teachers share their honest reviews.

Here’s a few I would suggest joining:

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

How do I become an online teacher ?

  • First things first. You need a good laptop/tablet (some companies allow you to teach from your phone or tablet)
  • I would recommend a Mac book. There are lots of decent refurbished ones on eBay for good prices! I personally would stay far away from windows laptops. I’ve never had one that has run smoothly!

  • You will also need a good internet connection. You may need to upgrade the broadband package you already have.
  • Headset – a noise cancelling one is best.
  • External camera – only needed if the camera on your laptop is pants!
  • Classroom – if you want to teach kids then you’ll have to have a “classroom” just find a place in your home where that you can decorate to look child friendly. Here’s mine…

  • Desk/standing desk – you’ll of course need a desk for your laptop if you haven’t got one already. I suggest getting a standing desk also. Of course it’s not good to stay sitting all day long so this will help. It will also help you stay awake if you decided to work crazy morning hours.
  • Props – I didn’t have to buy much Teaching props as I just used my little ones toys but you’ll need props to keep kids entertained and to keep their attention when teaching. These can be anything from stuffed animals to flash cards.
  • TPR – learn this meaning from now! Total Physical Response – a method of teaching language or vocabulary concepts by using physical movement to react to verbal input.

  • TEFL/TESOL certificate – you’ll NEED one of these if you want to teach Chinese people as it has recently become a new law. You can buy a course cheaply on groupon or Wowcher. Not all companies require one so you’ll have to do your research.
  • Bachelors degree – again not all companies require one but if you do have one then make sure you mention it! It can also help with getting you more pay!
  • Interview – you’ll have an interview with most companies. It’s usually just a relaxed chat talking about your experience if you have any. You may have to also teach a demo class. There are plenty of YouTube videos to help you out on this.
  • Register yourself as self employed – you will have to do this no matter what company you work for. You are responsible for your own taxes.

Racism

Unfortunately as a black teacher I’ve experienced racism in the online teaching industry particularly from Chinese students and companies. I’ve had students call me the N word. I’ve had companies turn me down because I’m black despite my many years of experience. It’s crap but unfortunately it’s part of the online teaching world! Despite this, there are great companies out there that will hire you despite your skin colour.

Also unfortunately a lot these companies prefer North American accents but don’t worry as there are plenty of ones that want Brits too. Have a search on the Facebook groups I suggested earlier on.

Pay

Most of these companies pay you in dollars which is great for American teachers…not so great for us Brits! The exchange rate is crappy and goes up and down all the time unfortunately! Most companies will pay you up to $15. Some even go up to $25/30

Hours

A lot of companies require you to work a set number of hours per week. Others like Cambly don’t require set hours at all. You literally log on an wait for students to call you. The flexibility is fab!

Fines

Some companies such as Palfish will fine you for missing classes. You may have over slept or you just forgot out had a class. Not all companies do this but a lot of them do. They’ll deduct money out of your wages unless you have a genuine reasons for missing a class and can prove it e.g a doctors note.

Reputable companies

Cambly – great if you’re just starting out. No minimum hours and they pay you weekly. You can speak to students from all over the world and they operate 24/7

Palfish – Its an app so it’s great as you can use your phone or tablet. They pay you once a month and in RMB.

Landi – I haven’t worked with them but I’ve heard good things and they definitely hire Brits

SayABC – I worked with them briefly last year but they weren’t the right fit for me as I think the classes are too long (most classes are 25 minutes…theirs are 40 minutes)

You can find a good list of companies on this site here

Also check out indeed too!

Important!!!!

Some companies will ask you to prove you’re a Brit so you’ll have to send an image of your passport. Be sure to block out any sensitive information!

Umm I think I’ve answered pretty much every question you guys have asked. Feel free to pop anymore in the comments 😊

Good luck and let me know if you get hired by any of these companies 💋💋

Butlins – Minehead

I’ll try to keep this blog post short and simple because we’ve been to SKEGNESS and BOGNOR and they’re pretty much the same.

So as usual we book with The Sun Holidays and paid only £38 at first. A few months later I got an email from Butlins letting me know that I could upgrade our room (to a silver bungalow) for just £5 per person which I did so the whole holiday cost £48.

Here’s what our silver Bungalow looked like…

It was decent and clean so I had no complaints.

Tip: there’s a Tesco, Morrison’s AND Lidl a short walk from the site. Buy all your food and drinks there and save yourself a lot of money!!

What to do at Butlins Minehead?

There’s plenty to do from watching live shows, to fairgrounds, arcades, swimming, playing at the beach etc! Unfortunately we went at a time where the weather wasn’t so great so we spent most of our time indoors but it was still a lot of fun for little miss. She made so many friends and had a fabulous time!

Getting to Butlins Minehead

OMG please drive if you can! I don’t drive to places longer than 2hours as little miss gets restless and so do I tbh. I really wish I drove here. The train journey from Paddington to Taunton wasn’t too bad. It was around 2 hours. It was getting the bus from Taunton to Minehead (£6 for a single ticket btw) which was manic!

First of all the bus couldn’t fit everyone on and their luggage. In fact there was hardly any luggage space on the bus there so our luggage had to be put on seats.

There was also a diversion which many busses were taking longer than normal plus we went through some narrow country roads that didn’t seem safe at all. At one point the bus had to reverse back through a tight space because of a huge lorry coming in the opposite direction. Manic!

The bus ride back wasn’t too bad as we left really early and this bus actually had luggage space!

You will need the number 28 bus and you can find out the bus times here

Would we go again?

Most likely no. I think Butlins Minehead needs updating a little plus the journey for me was too much hassle! It wasn’t terrible but I most definitely prefer the other two sites!

TODDLER time @ Flip Out Wandsworth

A brand new experience has opened up at Flip Out – Wandsworth and it’s just perfect for under 5s!

What is Flip Out?

A super cool trampoline park based in Wandsworth!

Toddler time

Flip Out Wandsworth have introduced a brand new Toddler Time Experience for an amazing price! The new and improved Toddler Time experience at Flip Out Wandsworth includes not only the fabulous trampoline park but now also a newly installed soft play area, fun interactive games, bubbles, great toddler music, bouncy castles and so much more!

Where is it?

Bendon Valley, Wandsworth SW18 4LZ

How much?

Toddler Time is now the price of 1 hour (£13 one adult & one under 5), with the option to stay for 4 more for FREE!

Need to know…

  • Despite the parking signs outside, parking is FREE for Flip Out customers only. Just make sure you register your car at the front desk to avoid a parking fine.
  • There’s a lovely cafe available to purchase food and drinks as well a seating area.
  • Lockers are available
  • Baby changing facilities are available
  • You will have to watch a safety video every time you visit
  • You will have to purchase special socks with a grip to jump on the trampolines if you don’t have some already
  • Please note: Toddler Time is available in the school holidays from Mon- Fri in the 9am and 10am bounce only.
  • 10am – 12pm every weekday is a dedicated session where a section of the park is open with no others besides fellow parents/guardians and their under 5s using the arena. (Term Time Only)

Brick Wonders @ The Horniman Museum

We were kindly invited to have a look at the Brick Wonders exhibition at the Horniman Museum. My little girl LOVES Lego so of course we jumped at the chance!

Not only is the whole thing fascinating but you also get the opportunity to create your own Lego creations.

500,000 bricks have been used to create these brilliant creations. There are Lego versions of the actual Horniman Museum, London Bridge, The Great Wall of China and so much more!

Im always so fascinated by how many pieces it takes to make a Lego creation and how long it takes. This information is also available for you to see on the different creations. Here’s one of my favourites…

How cool is this? A Walrus made completely out of Lego!

There’s a dress up area for kids that little miss loved! I mean who doesn’t want to dress up as Nemo? 😀

There’s also more opportunities around the exhibition for your little ones to play with Lego.

How much much?

Tickets: Child £5, Adult £9, Family (up to two adults and two children) £20.

Where?

Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ.

Need to know

  • There’s a buggy park outside. If you have a baby then it will be best to bring a baby carrier too.
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities are available outside the exhibition.
  • There was a bit of a queue when we went so you can probably avoid this if you go on a weekday or a weekend morning
  • There’s plenty to do at the Horniman Museum other than the exhibition so make the day of it!

Brick Wonders is open until Sunday 27 October 2019 so you have plenty of time to visit!

Shrek’s Adventure!

Ever wanted to meet the cast of the hit movie Shrek? If the answer is yes then Shrek’s adventure is the place for you! We were super excited to be invited to check out the tour!

What is it?

It’s an interactive tour where you get to meet different characters from the hit movie Shrek! You start of the tour meeting Princess Fiona and she explains how we are going to get to far far away on a bus. A 4D bus ride that is just an awesome experience with the best of the best of drivers…Donkey! The bus ride doesn’t go go plan and we ended up making Rumpelstiltskin a very angry man by killing his favourite witch. We then set off on a journey to find Shrek who helps us defeat the witches and Rumpelstiltskin.

Where?

Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7PBunder 10 minutes from Waterloo station.

How much?

Standard entry is from £21 on a weekday and £24 on a weekend. Under 3s are FREE. You can find more details on prices and other ways to save money on the website

Opening Times

Monday: 10.00am – 4.00pm    

Tuesday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Wednesday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Thursday: 11.00am – 4.00pm

Friday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Saturday: 10.00am – 6.00pm

Sunday: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Need to know…

  • Buggy’s will have to be left in a cloak room provided
  • Under 3s are FREE
  • There’s no age limit but just a reminder that this could be a little scary for certain ages. You know your child best so just make sure before booking.
  • The tour lasts for around 75 minutes
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities are available before you start the tour

What did we think?

We have actually been a few times before but little miss was very young and didn’t really understand it. Now that she’s 3 and talking loads she really enjoyed the whole experience! She had so much fun running away from the witches and meeting all the fairy tale characters. Of course meeting Shrek at the very end was a big hit too! It’s a fun experience for the whole family.

How do I get “FREE” tickets?

Very simple with The Sun Superdays

Step 1: Download the Sun Savers app or register at sunsavers.co.uk. Opt–in to the promotion via the offers section.

Step 2: Scan or enter NINE Sun Savers Codes from The Sun newspaper between Saturday, June 1st – Tuesday, June 18th.

Step 3: Click ‘book’ in the Superdays promotion to pick your date for Shrek’s adventure London.

Super easy to do!

London Museum of Water and Steam

We were invited to visit the London Museum of Water and Steam. The Story of water and how it gets around London is actually very interesting. I can honestly say we both learned a lot during our visit.

What’s there to do?

So instantly my daughter was drawn to the dressing up section 😀 how cute does she look as a parlour maid?

Straight after we headed outside to the Splash zone.

This area was of course her favourite! I mean what kid doesn’t love playing with water! It’s also super educational too. Kids are encouraged to explore the ways water can move.

Inside the museum there’s plenty to look at and learn about.

It’s amazing to see how the world has changed. Just take a look at this photo. I can’t imagine living at a time where household goods look like this.

As mentioned above we truly learnt a lot during our visit. We saw the story of London’s water supply through different time periods. It’s amazing how far humans have come. From collecting waste in buckets to having a fully working sewage system. Not something nice to think about 🤣 but still interesting!

Almost forgot to mention but you can also take part in story time here! We listened to a funny book about and elephant that didn’t like baths. Little miss thoroughly enjoyed the book and has now asked me to buy it. Straight after this we headed back outside to have a go on the steam train. It’s a short ride but you’re little ones are bound to have a blast!

How much?

You can save yourself 10% by booking online!

Opening hours

Getting there…

It’s a very short walk from Kew bridge station. It’s almost impossible to get lost.

For those of you that drive, there’s free but limited parking available.

We loved it here and will definitely visit again!

More info available here

Zog LIVE

We were kindly invited to see the stage adaptation of the great book Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

We both loved it! It’s hilarious, magical and great for all the family.

We see the story of Zog the dragon and how he yearns to be awarded a gold star at his dragon school. Zog and his friends must learn all the skills it takes to becomes the best of the best dragons!

Zog Production photos (c) Helen Maybanks

What I loved about this performance was the great singing, bright costumes and super cool puppets! This is honestly a show you don’t want to miss!

Zog Production photos (c) Helen Maybanks

My daughter was very amused throughout the 55 minute run! It was a very interactive show that had pretty much all the kids and even the adults laughing in the audience.

A particular favourite scene of mine was when the dragons finally learnt how to fly and then the puppet versions came into the audience and flew around our heads. A very cool moment bound to put a smile on your face!

Zog Production photos (c) Helen Maybanks

The Zog live tour has now started and you can find a list of tour dates and locations on the website here

Disneyland Paris – AGAIN!

Disneyland can be crazy expensive so I’m going to show you ways to cut the costs in this post as well as telling you guys about our great experience! We’re did a coach trip again with TK Holidays and this time we’re stayed for 2 nights!

I booked a coach trip for these reasons;

1. The cheapest way to Disneyland is by coach. I’ve looked at all the ways and this is definitely the most cost effective way! I could be wrong but after months of research I can’t imagine that I am 😀

2. This particular company was recommended by a friend…check out her insta she does great days out too!

3. I live close to Victoria coach station which is where our pick up stop was. Much easier than travelling to Gatwick or to where the Eurostar starts.

4. My little ones loves the ferry crossing part of the journey.

5. You don’t have to worry about transfers. You’re dropped right to your hotel door and picked up from the Disneyland coach park.

6.Everything is included in the price

7. Almost forgot to mention but I only paid a £1 deposit (per person)

Price breakdown

So the total was £533. What’s included?

  • Coach travel – charging points and WiFi included
  • Ferry crossing.
  • Disneyland park tickets for 2 people for 2 days. (Under 3s are free and will not have to pay)
  • 2 night stay at Santa Fe hotel – Disneyland Paris

A few weeks before our departure we were sent a letter with our itinerary. I loved how informative it was.

We were even sent pictures of where our pick up stop was so there was no excuse for getting lost.

The journey

The coach was expected to arrive at 6:30pm and leave at 7:15am. The coach didn’t arrive until around 8 due to road accidents. While I’m aware this was an estimate it would’ve been great if we were updated. The last company we travelled with actually sent everyone a mass text to let us know they were running a little late!

We travelled down to Dover to board the ferry. The journey wasn’t that long (1hr 40 mins) and quite pleasant!

There is food, a small play area, toilets and even WiFi available on board

Here’s the price of the WiFi. Not worth it in my opinion. The service wasn’t that bad I’m sure you can last 1hr 40mins without service if necessary.

Bring drinks and snacks with you as the food and drinks were quite pricy. Do what I did and head to Poundland, Lidl, Aldi or wherever you shop and stock up! I’ll come back to food later on…

An hour and 40 mins later we arrived at the port of Calais and proceeded to head towards Disneyland Paris.

We eventually arrived safe and sound at the hotel. I’ll do a proper review of the hotel further down.

Before I go on to talk about our trip I’m going to share some money saving tips…

Have you heard of Monzo? I’ve spoken about it before briefly but it’s a really great card to have when you’re abroad! What I love about this app/bank is the fact you get instant notifications. You buy something using your card you are instantly notified on your phone about where you spent your money and how much you spent. As soon as we arrived in France I received this message.

Other great benefits….

Use your card anywhere – Monzo works all around the world, and you don’t need to tell us if you’re going away.

Take out cash – Withdraw up to £200 every 30 days for free (there’s a 3% charge after that).

Spend for free – They don’t add any fees or charges for spending with your card, and they don’t mark up the exchange rate.

Save money on food!

The last time we visited Disneyland Paris I bought food and it was awful and very overpriced so I wasn’t trying to do that again!

  • Cheap travel kettle from somewhere like Argos and noodles with be your best friend. Some hotels have kettles and sometimes you can request one. I assume these go quite quickly so I bought my own! You can also buy yourself a food flask to keep your food warm on the go.
  • Snacks snacks snacks – biscuits, crisps, chocolate, you name it…I’ve bought it. Snacks at Disneyland will cost you quite a bit. Cut the cost by bringing your own.
  • Definitely being your own drinks and a reusable water bottle as there are refilling stations around the park.

Hotel

We stayed at Hotel Santa Fe and I have no complaints. Well I did request the ground floor but got the first. It was annoying going up and down the stairs with a buggy and a toddler but it didn’t put a downer on our trip!

There’s an indoor playground area in this hotel but we didn’t get a chance to visit.

The hotel is just a 20 minute walk from the parks and I strongly suggest walking as the free shuttle bus was a nightmare to get on. Grown people pushing and shoving. It was ridiculous!

Magic hours Check in to a Disney Hotel and enjoy extra magic each day of your stay! Gain exclusive access to parts of the Disney Parks an hour before anyone else!

We did this and it was great! We even managed to get a picture outside the castle with no one else in the background!

Character meet and greet – every morning at 8:15 you have the chance to meet a Disney character at the reception part of the hotel. Little miss got to meet Mickey and Goofy and she loved it!

Day 1!

If you read my previous post then you know I don’t go into Disneyland with a plan. I like to go with the flow. I also don’t tell my daughter any plans as I don’t want to disappoint in case of ride closures and not being able to meet certain characters but if you’re looking to plan your trip there’s a great group on Facebook where you can ask for advice and tips here!

We went on a date that’s considered “low season” meaning less people than normal but I still found it pretty busy but less busy than our day trip back in October last year. We still managed to do LOADS in one day which meant that the next day could be more relaxing.

We did a 6 rides, 3 shows and met 3 Disney characters. I think that’s pretty good for a day.

What we loved!

The 3D ratatouille ride was amazing!

Stitch live was brilliant and something I definitely recommend watching when you visit.

Little miss loved meeting Mickey, Pluto and Donald! She has a blast pretending to be a monster from Monsters INC😀

Illuminations was fabulous! The best way to end the perfect day!

Day 2

It was a Saturday so a lot busier than Friday. We managed just 3 rides, 1 show and a whopping 6 characters! My daughter loved every moment! We were also super lucky to have great weather. At one point we are able to take off our jackets!

I must say the character meets we’re so special! Each one made me daughter so happy! They were so attentive and we didn’t feel rushed at all!

Safety

I had someone on Instagram ask me if I felt safe at Disney and I totally did. Safer then I do living in London😀

Security do their job well and there are armed guards patrolling the entrance! There’s honestly no need to worry!

Also if you’re worried about losing your child you can do what I did:

We loved every moment of Disneyland Paris and we’re looking to come back at the end of this year or early next year. It truly is a magical place!

I’ll leave this post with some more pictures and videos 😊 💋

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – Review

#EverythingIsAwesome

Now this is a movie little miss has REALLY been looking forward to! She’s OBSESSED with Lego 😀

We even recently went to South Bank to see the stars of the new movie open up a pop up Lego coffee shop inspired by the movie!

Ok enough showing off haha…let’s talk Lego movie!

Synopsis

It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. – IMDB

Running time

106 mins

What I loved…

The whole movie had a “feel good” vibe. It’s absolutely hilarious too…even for adults! So many pop culture references which I love! We’ve seen the first movie and The Lego Batman movie do there was no doubt in my mind that we would enjoy this movie! The “Everything is awesome” song is super annoying but loveable at the same time 😀 I promise you, you’ll love the little remix at the end! The ending was super sweet too and a nice little life lesson for those able to understand.

What little miss loved

So again I asked little miss what she enjoyed about the movie and she just sang “Everything is awesome” 🤣 I know for a fact she loved it as she sat completely still the whole time. I’m not lying when I say she’s obsessed with Lego 😀

Watch the trailer here

Parents guide available on IMDB