Friday, 29 August 2008

A typical day

The structure of a day is determined by the age of the children I am looking after. Babies dictate their own schedule of events, (sleeping, feeding, nappy changing, etc). I work closely with mum and dad to ensure that any routines that are already in place, remain in place.

If you have a child who needs to move on from nappies to using the 'potty' then I let you know how they have fared during the day! If I am looking after young toddlers then we do activities which
drive and stimulate their development, while at the same time having fun.

For older children we have a mix of
education and fun. This mix is driven by your individual child's need. So if you tell me they need some help with numbers then that's what we will do. If they are starting to write or tell the time, we will focus on this. And when they are older and the 'dreaded' homework starts, I will always create the right working environment for this to be completed (and help if my brain can keep up!).

We have meal-times throughout the day: breakfast from 7:30am (unless they have eaten at home already), a healthy snack at 10:30am, lunch at 12:30am and another healthy snack at 3pm. Cooked tea is at 5pm.

At some stage in the day, a quiet period is required. I am a firm believer in younger children having a sleep after lunch, but there is no pressure, and if they do not feel like sleeping, they can have a rest-time with me in the lounge area.

I provide a written summary of the day�s care for you to take home in your child's daily diary. This gives you an overview of your child's feeding, sleeping, nappy changing activities as well as their demeanour during the day.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Tropic Thunder

We heard reviews were good and it has some excellent actors!
So off we went... what a disappointment!!!

The humour is stupid humour, not funny or clever.
Far too much swearing.
I would NOT want my 12 year old to see this... No way!
I would feel uncomfortable sitting next to my mum!
Waste of time and money!!!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Playdates and behaviour

We often have play dates with locally minded children/children of friends/family, who come to my home. We play inside if the weather is not ideal, or in the garden, park or common. We also visit them if they are close by.

I encourage positive behaviour, which helps build up a child's self worth and self esteem. We are keen on sharing, saying 'please' and 'thank you', taking turns and learn to think about, and care for, our friends.

We learn to keep safe 'stranger danger', and are careful when we cross the road. We always hold hands or hold onto the buggy. We learn how important it is to eat healthily and keep our bodies healthy.

Thursday, 21 August 2008


We take little bus trips into the local Wimbledon Village and Putney (5 mins by car either way), and visit toy shops, on our own and with our play date friends. We will soon be visiting a toddler group that opens in September on a Wednesday.

We can go to Eddie Katz, but I need to have all parents agree to this on any given day. We have such an active day already, I have most mums prefer taking their children on their days with their kids. The same applies to ballet/swimming/other paid-for activities.

Parents are aware of our movements every single day, and I have all the necessary permissions in place from parents for outings on the bus etc.

I put 'If I am lost' wristbands on the children when we go on outings. On the rear is my mobile number. Rest assured the children are always close to me and never out of my sight, but this is an added precaution!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


I got quite a shock today!!!

Last month I had my inspection and a variance was granted. I could have an extra child per day... I filled this space immed, and sent through a grid with ages, dates and names on. All fine I was told on a follow up call.

The inspector phones me today to discuss her dissertation... and we were nattering about the kids and I mentioned the 2 new kids starting (on differing days)... and she asked their ages... and basically, she told me I was given incorrect info I can look after 1 extra child under 5 on the day I initially asked for (sibling), but the other days I could have an extra child, but that child had to be 5-8 years!

I have had to phone the parent who starts next month and say I have to give her retainer back and apologise profusely. She is not at all happy but at least she understands. Thankfully I have been in touch with a fellow forumite who lives locally and she has a vacancy and can offer her the space needed! Phew!!!

I am just amazed how the one hand doesn't know what the other does.. and the inspector has to go in and change my incorrectly input details on the system now. At least the little girl hadn't started with me yet, so she won't have to re-settle again. Thank goodness she phoned me today too, I would have been working illegally without knowing it!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Monday, 11 August 2008

Unregistered childminders! Groan.

Do not touch them with a barge pole! Please.

Beside it being illegal (!!!)... if something happened to your child (God forbid) in her care, she has no liability insurance etc. There are processes in place for childminders and we adhere to them for good reason.

You would also have no one to complain to/backup support system (OFSTED/NCMA etc.) if you werent happy for some reason.

Basically, as nice as she is... she could just do as she likes... hmm

Plus I (as a registered childminder with an outstanding grading...) always insist my prospective parents phone as many refs as they like... and I give about 8...character and work refs. One ref is just not enough imo. Even tho OFSTED are happy with me... I am a big believer in refs.

Mum's coming to town!

One of my parents told me her mum's coming to stay for 6 weeks, and told her she could save on 6 weeks worth of childcare costs as she'll look after her grand-daughter (11 months) for the 6 weeks!

The mother mentioned this to me, saying she doesn't want to lose her place with me though, just asked whether I was open to the idea... of course I said I couldn't do that... I also let her know later in the conversation I have a couple kids on my waiting list... which is true.

Hmmm.. I feel bad as nana is available and keen, but then I am running a business. I hope I don't get daggers from the nana either when she comes to collect her etc too. Like I am taking her time away from her granddaughter.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

2008 travels ~ 2 countries, 17 villages & cities!

- In Hickory with family: mum, bro & son
In Hickory with family: mum, bro & gorgeous son
We have returned from a glorious holiday in the States!

- Roman Bath, Bath
Roman Bath, Bath

Jan 2008

Bath, Somerset.

I have been to Bath a few times since living in England, the first being in 2002, when we spent the weekend here, celebrating our first year wedding anniversary! We walked all over Bath, took loads of pics (pre-digital), and had a ball. A shame it was raining most of the time though! I then came here on business a few times - our printers were here.

But the most culturally thorough and enjoyable time was of late... when two wonderful friends, Kat (keida84) and Kristi (dabs), my sister and I went gallivanting off here to go on a Jane Austen walking tour of Bath.

It didn't disappoint! It was chilly, but the skies were blue. The company delightful! We embellished ourselves in the imaginative novels of the late Ms Jane Austen (She was one of the most important and best-loved English novelists of the 19th century - 1775-1817), we walked through the baths, we had a sedate (and scrumptious) tea at the Pump Room... with a live 3-piece playing away...

- Matlock Bath
Matlock Bath

April 2008

Matlock Bath, Peak District, Derbyshire, for a few days.

Well, what can I say about this breath of fresh air? Derbyshire has to be the prettiest English county we have seen thus far... we have seen quite a few, and have many more to go, and this claims top spot!

Matlock Bath is quaint and picturesque. It lies in a gorge, running alongside the river. There are all kinds of shops and tea rooms and pubs... some are a tad commercialised (but in a small way), and others are old fashioned. All in all, we had a variety of things to do here, like going up Abraham Heights (cable car), going down a lead mine (with EIGHTY TWO bally steps to get out! *huff and a puff*), going for lovely walks, taking plenty of pics. Seeing grand homes like Chatsworth House and once-grand Haddon Hall.

An ideal getaway.

- HUbby's favourite bridge! Hammersmith Bridge
Hubby's favourite bridge! Hammersmith Bridge

May 2008

We have house visitors! BIL and SIL are in London, she is working at the Chelsea Flower Show (is a botanist at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town).

The Kirstenbosch stand got silver for creativity and gold for showing it's true habitat! Well done!!! :)

We did a variety of things with the family, one of them being doing the boat cruise from Westminster Abbey in Central London, to Kew Gardens!

- Lake Windermere
Lake Windermere

July 2008

Great Lakes District cottage for a week... what an amazing time we had! Exploring Muncaster Castle, and enjoying their owl show... doing some fly fishing, visiting Beatrix Potter's home 'Hilltop', and seeing where her inspiration and pictures come from!

Most of all, we just had a wonderful time to ourselves, our hired cottage was beyond expectation.. tranquil with fantastic furnishings.. and sheep across the road in the field.. who could want for more? ;)

- Ingrid (Trakki), Sarah (Toonsarah) and Andy (Fen)!
Ingrid (Trakki), Sarah (Toonsarah) and Andy (Fen)!

5 August 2008

Ingrid (Trekki) is in London :)

Thanks for organising this meeting Sarah (toonsarah)!

- The hungry peeps!
The hungry peeps!

9 August 2008

Kristi (dabs) is in London and it was her birthday on 080808! :)

David, hubby of Kristi (dabs), Jen (Jenniflower) and hubby Lance, Nathalie (nhcram) and hubby Chris, and Sarah (toonsarah) and hubby Chris. Jo (jo104) arrived later, and I have no cool shots of her to show.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Dinner at Sugarreef restaurant and bar (and club!)

VT members and other halves are:

David, hubby of Kristi (dabs), Jen (Jenniflower) and hubby Lance, Nathalie (nhcram) and hubby Chris, and Sarah (toonsarah) and hubby Chris. Jo (jo104) arrived later.

Nothing like a *happy hour* half-price Cosmopolitan cocktail to get the evening started!

Ooooooooooooh this was the favourite of the night... tiger prawns... YUM!

Trendy and vibrant, this was a lovely place, if a tad loud though!

Dessert was a chooclate brownie for me and cheescake for Mr Flower!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Just moi

Born in Cape Town, I moved to Johannesburg when I was two. There I remained till I was 21, and, newly qualified as a graphic designer, I turned to Cape Town to start my design business. I stayed there for 7 years until our emigration in 2002. And here in London we still are!

I have 3 siblings, an older sister and 2 younger brothers. Both brothers are married, and have 2 children each (so far!) 2 little nieces and 2 little nephews. They live in Johannesburg and North Carolina. My lovely sister lives about 7 minutes from me, in Barnes, London. Mum lives in Joburg.

I love the warm caress of the rays of the sun, the fresh smell after a gentle rainfall, the magical touch of snow, the clear twinkling of the stars over the Bushveld in South Africa, the radiance of the colours in a rainbow, and the wailing of the wind.

I love nature, and I love people. From the little old lady, clutching her grandchild's birthday gift, patiently sitting at the bus stop; to the burly man with a moustache, father of four, selling fresh fruit at the street corner; to the grey-haired millionaire sitting in his unlived mansion, all alone and not particularly happy. I love family, and think the family unit and marriage are not taken seriously enough today. Broken and incomplete homes account for much of the breakdown in society today I feel. I have never had a dad, but my mum (bless her) successfully brought up four good (great!!!) kids.

My life in 50 (0r more!?) words!

Bolshy green-eyed lass from South Africa, believer in Jesus Christ, grew up in City of Gold, Jo'burg, one of 4 kids to divorced mum, never really knew my dad who died 2 weeks ago, got graphic design degree in 1995, had successful design company in Cape Town for 5 years prior to relocating to SW London, corporate career in publishing for workaholic boss in Central London till early last year, changed career (yay!) and started own childcare business... my calling and am loving it, currently doing childcare diploma, still do freelance design, been married to my soul mate for 7 years, live across the road from the wombles, will return to South Africa in a few years, miss my mum, absolutely adore my husband and long to be a mum.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Which to choose?

First child will be 11 months when she starts... not ideal as will have a very new 1 year old when she starts.. and she wants 2 days only. Is a very sweet little girl though, full of smiles.. could easily fit in.

Second child will be 16 months when she starts, wants 3 days... more ideal age-wise. She is an adopted child and this comes with an extra responsibility... because some behaviour she might have could be attributed to her background, not her age etc. So she told me that she'd like me to do loads of reading up on adopted kids etc... irony is I already have been as hubby and I have been thinking of adopting ourselves, as we recently found out we most likely cannot have our own kids due to hubby's bad case of mumps as a child

This in itself has been a big hurdle emotionally for us to get our heads around (not having our own kiddy), we are dying to be parents... and we are both keen to give a child who has come into this world at a huge disadvantage, a loving and secure home and upbringing. So... my heart goes out to the adopted child more, even though I can see she might be a little bit of a handful tbh.

I just want to do the right thing though... the money actually doesn't even come into it for me... it's more important to me that I am the right minder for the child at this time in their little lives. I get on with both folks well.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Trains station feedback!

Things were rather hectic, and everyone was fine with everything (the comings and goings... kids were extra excited too with all the activity), thanks!

Had three sets of parents fetch their kids... two sets of prospective parents come and go (asking the usual loads of questions), my sil and hubby all arrive in the space of 2 hours... Then the gas man arrives (with the name Mohammed Ali I might add!), amidst all this!!!

I was straight with sil and asked whether she minded being in the playroom tinkering on the internet whilst I gave parents the tour and then chatted with them in the lounge. She was fine with this!

Hubby came home and they both went for a long walk in the common, by the time they got back, the last parent had left and I had tidied up and put the pork chops on

My dilemma is both sets of parents now want the vacancies but I can only take one... I wish I could help all, but naturally cannot. Now have to make a choice... although I feel the first should have priority as I saw her the day before.. BUT she only wants 2 days, the second parent wants 3 days.. so financially the 2nd is the better option for me, but in fairness.. the 1st should be...