searching for childcare

Searching for childcare ?

searching for childcare

 

Is your head spinning looking for a childminder? You are not alone!  I am going through this dilemma as i reluctantly plan to go back to work and hopefully excel at my job again.  Being on maternity leave for a year does obviously change the skillset (hopefully for the better!) but would things change drastically?  Will I remember or pick things up quickly? Can I handle working?

To accompany the fear of returning to work, I am also faced with the worries about being a working mummy.  I am being presented with utter guilt of leaving Joshua in someone else’s’ care.  I actually want to be there with him, to see all those amazing milestones that he will achieve.  Experiencing his firsts for activities will be shared with a stranger or family member but not I! So to add to the mix – I wanted to find the best environment for Joshua.

A home that he would develop and learn in, with enough space that he can cruise around and have fun, along with insurance of his safety.  With an array of questions, examining the childminders personality and capability becomes part of the quest to find the most suitable childminder.

I’ve got to say – I’m no expert but i have seen my fair share of childminders already.  And I have to be honest – there are some shocking childminders out there! How they get away with it – and charge – ludicrous! Martin, Joshua and I had met various childminders – to the point I was getting so fed up! How can one, not watch your potential client, in this instance Joshua and not notice he was playing with a sharp fork which was in the toy box which was put down infront of him?

No apology or haste to get it away from him.  How about a tiny room filled with 9 children! Or taking on friends children randomly without any planning? What about loads of toys of different ages being mixed? Would you like the childminder aggressively dumping your child on a sofa? Or saying no I don’t take the children out (even though there is no garden)?

You may think I’m picky but I want a home away from home style carer, whereby values, exploring, and caring are met. I understand it can be a bad day (we all have them), and I totally get that not 100% attention will be there as it needs to be shared amongst all the children.  However I want the best for my child, especially when I am paying for it – childcare is not cheap!

So when you see the childminder and her home, treat it like an interview.  Just as much as you are interrogating her, she will query about your child and you.  One of my childminder friends mentioned that it’s just as important to get on with the parents and for the child to fit in with the other children. Well said! I’m so happy with the one I found!

I’ve put together a quick list of a few questions to help you understand the childminders skills, along with helping you decide if they are suitable to your needs.  I hope it helps!

How to get there ?

Consider the travel journey of how easy it is to get there and to work. Would you need to leave the car or pram in the vicinity? Location is such a big part, especially if you have got to be at work at peak times and come back at peak times.

 Price

Is the price reasonable compared to others? Most childminders include meals and snacks.  Some even include trips.?  Are there any caveats – ie lateness, upfront costs, sickness costs?

What is the environment like?

Does it look clean to you? Is it safe for your child? Is there a decent amount of space for the total number of children on the day?

Attitude of childminder  

How comfortable are you with her?  How is she towards your child?  How does your child react with her? Is she nice?  Is she pushy? Is she stern? Is she strict

What is their availability?

Can she do the days that you require? How flexible in times is she? Is she going away/on holiday? Does she work during holiday seasons?

How do you provide insurance of safety?

Look around the place !

Childminders qualifications

Is she Ofsted registered? Are they doing any courses? What is the training they have done? Its great to know they are putting effort and learning new skills to look after your child. Where is their experience?

What activities do you provide?

Is there plenty of good quality toys, equipment and resources?

How do you discipline?

Are their policies and rules? Is positive methods used?

How do you support learning & development?

What type of interactions is used? Praise, encouragement and laughter? Are themes used? Are the activities engaging and able to develop the child? Is the Early Years Foundation Stage met?

Do you have a routine/follow a child’s routine?

Is the days planned and structured? Do you know where your child will be and what they will be doing?

How many children do you look after?

Childminders can care  for 6 children under 8 years old, along with only 1 under 1 year old.  Check on the days you would like how many they would look after and if you were happy with the age range.

Do my child and I feel comfortable?

Its so vital that both will get on!?

How do you keep me informed?

When dropping and picking up your child, sometimes these are rushed moments and there isn’t always time for a catchup.  How else can the childminder update you?  And in turn how can you update them?  Notebooks? Emails? Childcare app on phone?

Sick/holiday

Whats the process and what happens when either the childminder, your baby or other babies are sick on holiday?

 

Click below for your free printable!

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Joshua 2016

A reflection of 2016

Joshua 2016

How has your 2016 been?  What are you wishing for in 2017?

I started this blog January this year, and boy has it expanded to 53 posts! Never could I have imagined the amount of followers on WordPress, Facebook and Instagram that has been achieved.  I’m pulling a lovely grin at the moment 😉 A reflection on these last 12 months is definitely required. This year has brought pretty little things wrapped up, annoying body problems, pushed my baby out, loss of my dad and promised with forever diamonds. There’s been long miles of travel in the UK with a new born, to sleepless nights and days, baby attached to boob, and confused minds.  Whilst this has all gone on, I am constantly trying to adapt to the change of life, without going skitso!

At the start of the year, it was incomparable to now – I hadn’t entered my world.  Normally each year is the same-ish, but this one has had drastic changes.  Let’s begin with me being in a well-paid job, to then looking after JJ at home. Work was my life.  They say you are meant to work to live but I loved working.  It consumed a lot of me.  I would take the company mobile with me on holidays and respond to emails and calls.  On the way to work and returning home, where these hours were unpaid, I would still be tapping at the phone replying to mail.

martin and joshua

My inbox at work was one of the largest in the company – lol!  Putting on my pencil skirts and fancy blouse, hopping onto the train, sipping any type of caffeine and walking across Vauxhall Bridge to work was part of my routine for years.  Keyboard typing, bossing colleagues about and solving, helping and improving anything within work was, just me.  As sad as that may seem – I was a work a holic.  I even said I was going to come back early to work during maternity.  Oh what being a first time mummy can do to your world! I quickly realised I was not ready to go back to work and would take the whole maternity year.  It changes everything! LOL! I just wanted to spend as much time with JJ.

My mum worked all the time – she meant well and worked her socks off, but I didn’t see her as much as I wanted to.  Years pass so quickly and JJ won’t stay little forever.  Putting my career on hold for however long is what I want to do because I really want to be involved in JJ’s milestones, even if he does have his crazy moments !

Everyone warns you about enjoying being you, enjoying moments with your partner, enjoying the freedom because it’s much harder to achieve.  I struggled with the idea that it was not about Martin and I anymore.  I have to put my little JJ first.  He is my world but gosh can he test me to my limits.  From doing whatever I wanted whenever I chose to, to now being limited – or just for things to take sooooo much longer!  Crikey – it is such an impact.

I’ve lost my morning lie ins in my cosy bed, my late nights going to bed, randomly going out with family and friends, putting time into things I love, like cycling, reading comics and painting. Let’s not forget the small things, like having a shower, a pee or poo without being disturbed or rushed. I miss coffee not quietly getting cold, driving without hearing screams, a decent run of sleep hours, nipples not leaking, covering boob clothing and time for being me.  This is not a moan at all – I’m just trying to show I have found it hard.

From office work to a mum, a cleaner, an organiser, multi tasker, aerobics,  a body guard, a teacher, a chauffeur, a sports person, best friend of google, for me an absolute achiever.  A damn hard worker.  I am not on holiday! I’d like to see you be covered with pee constantly, smell the poo that comes out JJ’s ass, grow muscles you never knew you had, constantly every day.  Strangely, it’s all freaking worth it! I love making JJ laugh – his laughter completely melts me away.  Even though it can be tiring, every new leap he goes through makes me know I’m doing something right, and that is what is so rewarding.

Now factor this in with my dad passing away.  I don’t even know what to write here.  I have an emptiness of words on this matter.  When you love someone, and then their presence is gone. How does one feel?  I still go to my mums and dads place expecting him to be there, to say a not funny dad joke (but others find funny).  I long for those random calls that my car needs an MOT even though I know it does.  I miss our competiveness about the latest products.  I crave on getting annoyed easily when teaching him how to work his phone or laptop.  Then to see my mum continue without him, her love of her life, not sharing the same bed any more, the morning awakenings and daily talks disappear – is another struggle.  I try my upmost to make sure she doesn’t feel so alone, but I can’t be there with her every moment. That makes me feel utter helpless.   Through this, I feel she is strong.  She doesn’t think so – but to continue and get on with everything  – that is a strong minded woman.  I love you mum.

I feel on top of the world as diamonds are really a girl’s best friend.  Hahahahahaha! Knowing there is a promise to death do us part, is reassuring.  I was never the type to be bothered about marriage until I met Martin ahahahaha! Just the fact that I am still loved through all my ugly moments and stupid moments, just creates a big smile! I know that we have so much to experience together and cannot wait for the ‘I do’. He’s been so supportive, (95% of the time – hahahaha) that I really couldn’t get past this year without him.  And dealing with all my demands – wow!

I have come to know some great mummies and without them all, I would feel so lonely.  They have been such an amazing supportive group about everything.  Having those coffee meet ups and play dates are greatly needed so I don’t go insane!

What have I learnt from this year?  That I truly can cope – that I am strong when I thought I was weak, mentally and physically.  I get on with things because I have to; I want to.  I am not as selfish as I thought – (except with snacks and desserts with Martin).  I can love a little human being as wide as the galaxy.  I understand why mums do what they do – they are trying to make a good home, and in order to do that things need to be done their own way.  It’s really something that I didn’t grasp before.  I’ve never lost someone so important to me, so I know I just want to enjoy every moment with everyone I cherish. Family and friends means much more to me now than ever before.  I know that a lot can change but I can make it work to the best of my ability.

Through this here are my wishes that I will upon for 2017:

  • To be the super duper fun mum and not get annoyed so often (Very hard to do ahahaha)
  • To continue with the little craze of exercise the last 2 weeks. It will really help with my back issues and hopefully will help trim down all the chocolate I’ve been eating.
  • To spend more time with family. The last couple of days I’ve made more of an effort even for a short while – so really glad!
  • To cook more often for Martin coz I’m really not a chef!
  • To keep up with more collateral for the blog!
  • Have a new family home. (It’s going sooooo sloooooow)
  • Get cracking on planning for our wedding.
  • Normally I would have a career goal but that’s not gone, it’s just on hold.
snowman onesie

Christmas Baby Fashion – Snowman Onesie

Snowman Onesie

Christmas is a few starry nights away, and with this is the need for some baby Christmas gear at the ready!

snowman onesie

 

This very cute spotted bow tie with red braces long sleeve bodysuit is designed by Agg Crafts from London.  From £22.00 with leg warmers (not pictured). Agg Crafts is passionate about special handcrafting items, treating each item with love and care.  I cannot wait for when JJ turns 1, so I can dress him up in one of their cake smash outfits!

snowman onesie

JJ is rocking a Christmas themed harem pants with large snowflakes.  Small stars are scattered around to create a more fun filled look.  Each square comprises of a shade of green.  The waistband can be foldable to cater to your baby’s height. The pants closes in with a white elasticated ankle . JJ is totally relaxed in these pants!  Priced at £18.00. Schnuki, meaning sweetheart, nicknamed after their daughter is a modern and unique brand of handmade baby items.  You really need to check out their ponchos too!

snowman onesie

My little snowman JJ – he just melts my heart.  Ahaha! Keep your baby warm with this baby snowman onesie from John Lewis , retailing from £19.00.  Crafted from a faux fur finish, the typical snowmans scarf, buttons and carrot nose has adorable embroidery detail.

snowman onesie

sassy bloom box

Our Second Sassy Bloom Box

sassy bloom box

After the first Sassy Bloom Box, I was really looking forward to the surprises in the next box.  Totally love all the goodies for JJ!

Munchkin Twisty Barbell Teether Toy £4.99

Originally I was thinking not another teether toy but seeing JJ bite on everything that comes in his view – maybe this was good item. It is!  It’s very colourful and JJ seems to go for the round ends.  Sometimes he likes to chew on the rings.  This teether toy definitely keeps him occupied due to the varied textures for a good 10 minutes until he wants another toy.

Sassy bloombox

Brother Max 2 Catch and Fold Baby Bibs RRP £5.99

I love this! It comes with 2 bibs that are waterproof  – perfect! You can attach the food catcher at two different heights.  (It has seen a lot of food!).  And whilst you’re out and about, the crumb catcher can close easily, storing the bib and baby spoons.  I definitely recommend this.

sassy bloom box

Childs Play Wally Whale and his friends £5.99

Very weird that this came through – as I was wanting more bath toys for JJ! Wally whale squeaks and squirts each time he meets a friend. It’s a waterproof book – brilliant for learning in the bath and having fun at the same time.  Keen to get the other books!sassy bloom box

Taf Toys Kooky Boy Petit Garcon Kooky £12.99

This looks like a crazy weird clown. JJ holds his interest while this is placed in the car seat.  There’s plastic rings, a rattle, chime bell sound, a teether and different textures all over. As all the toys out there, it helps the baby develop senses and motor skills by playing with the shapes and features.

Munchkin Tip & Sip Straw Cup £5.60

It promises to be a leak proof but I have yet to test it.  I know the 2 handles would be great as JJ uses his doidy cup with 2 handles. It comes with a brush to easily clean the straw. The straw is very flexible to the point you can bend it and close the lid over it so no spillage.

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.Overall very happy with this box, and can not wait for the next one.  Treats for JJ!

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https://www.sassybloom.com/?referral_id=LaisLiLf

baptising Joshua

Baptising Joshua

baptising Joshua

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The Catholic Church recommends babies to be baptised within a few weeks of birth.  It’s also pushed within the Filipino community.   However, due to the circumstances of the first few months after Joshua’s birth it was not something I could comprehend, especially as Martin and I are both not practicing any faith.  I have complete respect for those that follow any religious faith and have sincerest admiration for those that practice their beliefs.  However, there has been so many opposition questions that I have faced, wondered myself and certain aspects within my life that makes me choose not be a practicing Catholic. Does this make me a hypocrite? Probably so?  Nevertheless, being brought up with Catholicism has provided the great values within me that I would want to bestow onto Joshua.  It is not so much about the belief of a God, sacraments and rituals but providing the love to show upon another, to be kind to a neighbour, to have morals and be strong willed.   I would love Joshua to be mindful of all religions and respect their ideology.  With that in mind, we as parents prepare Joshua for his welcome into the Christian community.  It is not just us as parents that Joshua will follow and learn from, but his extended family, his friends, colleagues and his Godparents.  Where I’m trying to go with this is, with an excuse for a party as well, this baptism brings both Martins and I important people in our lives together, family and friends.  Unfortunately, this is not an often occurrence.  This means the world to me, that we can have everyone we dearly love together sharing the joy of our son.

baptising joshua

Thank you to mum, who has contributed to this celebration, to our family far and local who attended and our dearest friends. Thank you for the hard work,  Eclektik Design – your decorations were amazing! Lola Catering for delicious food.  Mimi’s Munchkins for the balloon modelling, Aira for the photographs  and Old Rut Rugby Club for the venue and St Josephs Church for the baptising of Joshua.

sassy bloom box

Our first Sassy Bloom Box

sassy bloom box

I’ve been looking forward to the Sassy Bloom subscription.  Similar to the My Little Box subscription that I use to sign up to, this is targeted for our little munchkins. Designed to make mummies and daddies life a little easier whilst saving some pennies; every month a box to introduce you to items fun or useful for the little bubbas.
As JJ and I open the box, we are welcome with the story behind how Sassy Bloom started.  The idea was triggered when unfortunately Holly was diagnosed with an incurable heart and lung disease called Pulmonary Hypertension, during pregnancy.  After being in hospital and delivering her baby at 34 weeks, her friends put together a gift box full of items for both her and her daughter. I wish I came up with it! Boy, would I love shopping and searching for items!!

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Sassy Bloom Box with bow

So the subscription comes at different price points; £29.95 monthly, 3 months paid in full at £28.95 a month, 6 months paid in full at  £27.95 monthly or annually paid in full at £25.95 per month. It is suggested that the box contents values at £50- £60 per box. So hopefully some money is saved. Also Sassy Bloom have a referral scheme whereby with   collected points/referrals you can gain a free box.  Let’s see what the box has to offer – very exciting!

sassy bloom box joshua

sassy bloom box

Personalised Bib RRP £10.00

I’m a mahoosive fan of personalised items, so receiving a bib with Joshua’s name on it was brilliant! It’s very soft and just perfect.  I’ve started using bibs within the last month due to Joshua dribbling loads when he puts anything that comes in his eyesight in his mouth! The only annoying thing about it was that I had to stretch it a bit over JJ’s head (Maybe he has a big head?).  Although on the description on my account it mentions it should have a velcro fastening which would of been handy!

sassy bloom box

Personalised Bib

Halilut Rainbow Shaker RRP £5.99

A textured prism effect tube with balls that makes a perfect shaker.  It’s very colourful whereby JJ is mesmerised by all the different colour balls.  I used it as sound tracker, where he easily follows the sound. Nice small toy to add to his toy basket.

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Sassy Bloom Box with bow

.  Shea Mooti Mama’s Everything Body Balm £16.99

To be honest, at £16.99 I kind of preferred if this was replaced with an item for JJ rather than me.  Don’t get me wrong – love that there was something for me, but maybe at a smaller value.  However, this balm seems perfect for my skin!  Its eczema friendly and because it’s an oily balm, it helps with my dry skin.  The initial aroma that hit my nose is the lavender. However it also contains cocoa butter and jojoba oils. Its meant to reduce stretch marks.  Fingers crossed!

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Sassy Bloom Box with bow

BKids Take Along Activity Efe RRP £12.99

Besides JJ wanting to eat it, when hanged on a seat Efe the Elephant seemed to provide entertainment for JJ..  He liked the rattle and crackling sounds he could create.  Hoping this will make him stay in his seat a tad bit longer so I can do some house chores.  Aha!

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Sassy Bloom Box with bow

Nuby Teething Buddie RRP £4.99

OK, so JJ has about 3 or 4 teething toys.  Another one won’t hurt.  The cute thing about this is that’s a comforter as well.  A 2-in-1 toy.

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Sassy Bloom Box with bow

Bright Starts Flexi Ball RRP £5.99

This has got to be JJ’s favourite item from Sassy Bloom’s box.  I rarely see JJ grasp items for a long time.  This Flexi ball allows him to easily hold it.  It’s not something I would have purchased myself if found in a shop initially but very glad it arrived in the Sassy Bloom box.

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Sassy Bloom Box with bow

 

Overall, I love the idea of Sassy Bloom and adore the contents.  I hope the items continue to be fun! You can defintly see the savings if you were to buy all these items together.  It would also make a great present to any mummy and baby out there!  If you would like £10 off you 1st Sassy Box then please use the code LaisLilf