Friday, 31 October 2008


Well, Halloween was a distaster in our area! We do not celebrate it ourselves, but usually have loads of lil kids banging on the door... of course we turn the lights out and pretend we aren't home hehe But this year there was only ONE group of kiddies... was it too cold I wonder??? Money too tight to make costumes??? Hmmm... I wonder...

free stock photo used

Thursday, 30 October 2008


I have a date with Daniel Craig this weekend! Can't wait to see the new James Bond movie. Daniel Craig and Sean Connery are my favourite Bond actors.

Well, I guess it had to happen... hubby has given me his stinking cold! Thanks for the anni gift dear! It is so cold outside, there is no way I am venturing out now, especially with this cold. Eyes are watering, voice is crackly, throat is sore, lemsips are bountiful.

I called the 3 kids parents who I should be looking after today and let them make the choice of whether to bring their lil ones today. I look after their kids when they have colds, so it's not bad enough to have off sick... but I would prefer they make the choice to take the chance of having a child with a cold this weekend... (of course, I would not charge were they to say they would prefer keeping them home).

Of the three, two are still coming in, which is fine... and, dare I say, I am a tad relieved, as the third child is the most active and is a newbie and doesn't know the rules of my home yet.. and opens every cupboard, fiddles with everything etc. He has to learn, so I am not worried about him, but today as I am not feeling 100%, it has made things a tad easier for me, him not being here. And I don't have to go round to all the cupboards and put the child lock on ;)

free stock photo used

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Cold all round!

It's bally BRRRRRRR outside, and inside!!! Hubby has a cold. A man cold. Bless. He got this cold on the evening of our anniversary... so dinner et al were out of the question... hmmm. He went to bed early as he was so bunged up... all romance flew out of the window (and promptly froze no doubt as it's so bally cold!). Hoping he is OK by Friday's dinner. He is quite bunged up! Him retiring early to bed left me with no choice but to finish the chocolates! Welll they were for me anyway... and I could hardly leave them out in the cold now could I?

Then early this am I had an asthma attack. the worst I have ever had in England (in 6 years) :( Thankfully pumps and nebuliser were on hand. Hubby had taken some TCP and it triggered my asthma. Cleaning materials/perfumes/deodorants etc. do it. Hubby has to wear dove deodorant :blush: around me due to this!

So am a little shaky this am to be honest. Tight chest. And the cleaners come this am, so there'll be smells and dust flying around... oh well, gotta be done! Will lock myself (and the kids) in the playroom ;)

Outside it is very cold today (although not as cold as New York - that was the COLDEST I have ever experienced in my life!!!!)... it has even been snowing in some London areas last night and this am. I hope it snows here! We have only ever experienced snow in London at the end of December and in January... the coldest months here, so October is VERY early! But holding thumbs it snows here :) Will take the kids out then and take photos/video of them in the snow.

Late fees grrr

I have been strict with one parent before, but that's because they had the money but were always just *forgetting it*... and it was a paper voucher too, and the school made a mess up too often with payment! So I had to wait eons before I got the actual payment... they were short term clients thankfully.

I have never charged a late fee, but with one parent I think I might - she is my most ditsy parent and kinda thinks everything revolves around her... she must think I buy food for her child with monopoly money...

My favourite necklace thus far!

I am going to post all the jewellery, cards etc. that I make, here, as soon as I can. I currently have a gallery in deviant art where they are displayed. I would like to chat about them more though... and feel they belong here, where I write about my life and what I create.

Another angle! I love the various shapes and sizes and colours... and yet they all seem to fit so well together!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

7 years!

Well, 7 years ago today I was getting married, to the man I hold dear... my heartbeat.

We married in a little stone chapel in a forest in Cape Town, with the beautiful Cape mountains as a backdrop.

Our reception was held at the Hout Bay Manor, which is a national monument... a lovely colonial styled building. We had a high tea and a first dance with Lonestar's 'Amazed by you'.

We then honeymooned at three different national parks, Addo Elephant, Tsitsikamma and Wilderness. It was a surprise for me... we popped in the car early in the morning, and he asked me to bend down and take out whatever was under the seat.. which I (being the dutiful wife already!haha) did!

It was a gorgeous book on wildlife in South Africa, and inside he had earmarked three pages... three of the national parks!!!! I asked him whether I should guess which one we were going to?? He replied that no, we were going to all three, and that I should guess in what order.

And that was the start of our big adventure!

We have been through a lot... emigrated, tried to become parents, travelled and much more these past 7 years... but through it all, we have held on tight to eachother and the Lord, and continue to grow closer each day.

Monday, 27 October 2008

My London travel page

My London page has loads of other London pages alongside it on VT, but my experience of my city is different to others. Different members focus on different aspects of a city, and each page is unique in their own way. And the same dinner sat with a VT pal, can have two varying outcomes (and tips) as to our personal experience.

My pages are for me first and foremost, I LOVE reading about places I went to years ago, chuckle at funny occurances etc.
When reading other members' travel pages, whether big or small, if a page interests me, it interests me. Due to time I probably will only read two sections of it in one sitting. You can get 100 useless tips and 10 fabulous ones on 2 different travel pages, but you can also get 100 fabulous tips and 10 useless ones on 2 different travel pages.

Read mine... what do you think? :)

My London Travel Page

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Baby oh baby

We have been trying for 5 years to have a lil one and the last two years have medically done so much, to no avail. Having one together, short of a miracle, seems to be out of the question. Then it's donor/adoption route.

Have looked into adoption here for the past year but do not see it being an option for a couple of reasons, one being I have to be off work for 6 months - 1 year... plus we want a baby and they won't consider our application unless we state we are willing for older kids (7 and up). They have black babies avail but do not consider cross-race adoptions sadly. cut a long story short... if the donor option does not work, we then will head back to SA and adopt there in 2 years. Already chatted with social workers there months ago, need to be resident there first. We emigrated here 6 years ago and its a huge move to then go back and restart everything, but we will do it if it means we can adopt. Unless we won the lottery we just couldnt afford to adopt here.

We have done our homework and have looked at every option, and are basically ticking off the boxes these last couple of years... those boxes are getting fewer. I am a firm Christian though and know that God does perform miracles... so am still praying for 1... or 2... or 3 ;)

Friday, 24 October 2008

Just low

Lance is ok, went back to work on Monday. His recovery has been good. We are both pretty tense re the surgery results, we get them end Nov. At least we'll know what's what for sure tho.

My excema is bad, and Lance says I am grating my teeth at night and scratching my skin, which is not good! But I do this when I am stressed. My nails are all gone too (what's new!). I am trying to be upbeat but have to say I have never felt as low as over the last few months.

My dad's death in July, Lance's op, trying to have a baby for so long, my excema and probs with ankles hasn't helped matters I don't think. I keep giving myself a talking to... just gotta soldier on and put a brave face on. We hardly socialise at all... have become like hermits to be honest. Too tired and just don't want to see people, and pretend we are fine, when we are not, not till we know what's happening.

We have also found out we will only be able to apply for British citizenship in a year's time, not NOW, as we thought we could. Bally frustrating! The bloke at the SA consular told us today - we could not believe it! We had other docs from the British Embassy, spent many ££ etc. to get this far, and now this (crucial!) info we weren't told about... anyway, will chat with the British Embassy on Mon to clarify things finally, but am pretty sure we have to get yet another visa, and fork out another £500 for it... wait a year and then apply for citizenship. At east we have passed the test which is good... but we'll have to redo the letters from the various places/embassies so the dates are cirrent. Groan.

Anyway, such is life and we have so much to be grateful for (like our JOBS and a roof over our heads!) in this current climate... we celebrate 7 years marriage next week and I am so grateful for him... he is my heartbeat.

Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?? I have :)

Am I mad???

I have a 12 month old, a 15 month old and a 16 month old on one day every week... getting around is tricky, so I keep things very local. They get on well though and all is going fine :)

I have 1 x 3 yr old, 2 x 2 yr olds and 3 x 1 yr olds... mixed and matchd throughout the week. All works fine, just needs planning and forethought logistically.

This is Monday to Thursday - Fridays I keep for my graphic design work... I need ONE sane day a week ;)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Chairman cracks under pressure!

The 26-second clip has made Nhlanhla Nene an internet star after it appeared on YouTube and other websites.

He had been answering questions ahead of a mini-budget in the country when his seat collapsed.

A portly Mr Nene looked worried after an audible crack, but managed to stay upright for another 12 seconds before crashing to the floor and out of picture.

The camera then turned back to a surprised looking female newsreader.

But the politician has managed to see the funny side and has asked his colleagues not to say chair when he is around.

(article taken from ITN news report)

It's early in the morning...

... and I have just received a text from the 'Oops, we are in Spain mum!'... asking me (at this time of the morning - I WAS sleeping!), if she could drop her child off much earlier tomorrow morning. I don't really have a choice, do I?

I am amazed that some people think we are just here 24/7 and they can come and go as they please... willy nilly.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

South Africa ~ My beloved country

South Africa - Our South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA ~ encounter her in all her beauty, tragedy, glory and stark reality!

As the world's most famous prisoner (held in captivity for 27 years) and, then becoming South Africa's president, Nelson Mandela exemplifies a moral integrity that shines far beyond South Africa. In the revolution led by Mandela to transform a country based on apartheid laws and dirision, into an open democracy, he alone has achieved a miracle. He was born in the Transkeian homeland on 18 July, 1918. His first name, 'Rolihlahla' is interpreted as 'troublemaker'. The Nelson was added later, by a primary school teacher of his.

Mandela's boyhood was peaceful until the death of his father landed him in the care of a powerful relative. He became involved in student protests against white colonial rule at the institution at Fort Hare, and this set him out on the long walk toward personal and national liberation. Having run away from his guardian to avoid an arranged marriage, he joined a law firm in Johannesburg as an apprentice. Years of daily exposure to the inhumanities of apartheid, where being black reduced one to the status of a nonperson, a nothing in some people's eyes, kindled in him a kind of absurd and willful courage to change the world...

And he did :) He is a much loved and revered person in South Africa, and the world. His is a hand of friendship and love, healing and productivity.

One of the most exciting elements in South Africa is that it is in the continual process of reinventing itself, it's outlook and understanding of eachother. Peoples’ attitudes have changed across the colour barrier and people have hope. A new South African culture is being created, sans colour or tradition standing in the way. We still have a long way to go, but the progress that's been made since 1994 has been hugely significant! :)


My sis is in Milan currently, on a working holiday! She seems to be having a lovely time... albeit getting lost in the dark and arriving at their self catering accommodation with no hot water and not enough beds to sleep in!

She arrives back on Saturday - looking forward to seeing the photos.

Kerry Katona

I hope the bi-polar/med story is true, but I have grown quite cynical re the *celebs* around I am afraid.. they drug, drink and carry on terribly, and the public just eat it up! If this is what fame does to you, I would love to remain as unknown as I am now :)

Watch this video... she looks drunk or drugged up... there has been quite an outcry about it.

OFSTED rewarding kids for good behaviour with days out?

I have just heard on my local radio station, OFSTED want to bring in a system into schools to reward badly behaved pupils, if they behave for a day or two. These rewards seem to be day trips out....

It's all upside down.

It's like the teenage single mothers being put at the top of the list for council homes... rewarding them for their actions! No wonder the pregnancy rate is sky high. NO incentive to actually work hard at school, get good grades and get a decent job. No work ethic! They then sit on their you-know-what's for the rest of their lives, breeding many more, and us hard working tax payers pay for their ciggies and roof.

I am tired of naughty children, naughty parents (who always blame the govt or teachers for their kids naughty behaviour!), naughty prisoners etc. being rewarded... it's the good citizens and kids that always lose out/are ignored.

I totally disagree with this OFSTED incentive.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Wedding card

One of my mindees mums got married 2 weeks ago, and I babysat their son during the reception. I made a card from handmade paper and corrugation and a metal heart, and popped it on their mantlepiece in an envelope for when they got back.

It was similar to the attached card, but a bigger card and heart, on corrugation. There are some more at the link below. See page two too for wedding ideas.
Attached Thumbnails
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Monday, 20 October 2008

Setting up in the am!

Cursory safety check of childminding areas (using my home risk assessment form) - esp the floor (for little things that can go in mouths!), hoover, dish washer, domestos toilet, get some toys out if have lil lil ones, big lil ones choose their own toys. Get drawing things out. Start/continue preparing activity for the day... await the buzz of the door and the happy hellos on the intercom!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Why do I enjoy childminding so much?

One of the reasons I so enjoy childminding is because it is a home-from-home environment, and can be so much more flexible than other forms of childcare. I offer part-time places, with varying hours, to suit parent's and children's needs.

The children also enjoy real-life learning experiences like baking, shopping, gardening, mealtimes and outings to the park. We have so many opportunities to be spontaneous too - an unexpected sunny or snowy day is a great opportunity for outdoor play and learning! And if the children are feeling tired or under the weather, they can curl up and take it easy in my home.

Feeling safe and secure in healthy surroundings, with a feeling of well-being and of being valued, is of utmost importance to me. I want your child to have a stimulating and fulfilling childhood, full of discovery, learning and joy.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

A negative about working from home...

(a) Our job is viewed as 'personal' as well as professional, as it's from our homes, so they think these comments are okay... they would never dare dream of saying this to their boss/colleagues I am sure!

(b) Do they ever take into account some of us have partners... and maybe our partner earns a (decent!) wage too... ?

Our children's parents are our clients. We have a symbiotic relationship, which should be one of respect. It is not respectful to make comments like this to people who offer you services.

We got a big flat screen earlier this year... hubby has been after one for the last 6 years... and we had this tiny little dinky thing. We saw it was a super deal and got it. Parents naturally remarked on it (no 'are we paying you too much comments', just general comments) and I found myself saying 'hubby bought it as it was a great deal'.... which was true, but I needn't have said it.

I also got some clothes for my nephews and nieces overseas, as we don't see them very often, when we send parcels we tend to spoil them!!! I had these items on the dining room table and I noticed a parent looking at the label and the price.... I nearly remarked on it but didn't. I too am allowed to shop at Debenhams!!!

As we work in our home I think we feel more exposed. I know I do. Your home is a reflection of you.

But you know what??? If I get something new I will not hide it/feel I need to justify it.. because I work VERY hard, and have earned it.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Childcare courses

I think it imperative as a carer of children that I stay up to date with the latest techniques (eg: CPR steps have changed since 2006), and gain knowledge about other important issues re caring for children.

I have completed the following 3 courses in 2008.

Advanced Paediatric First Aid
Intensive 2 day course covering many illnesses and accidents,
and how to treat them/what action to take
CPR and recovery position
Theory and practical exam

Fire Safety Awareness

Risk assessments
How to use a fire extinguisher
How to use a fire blanket
How to treat burns
How to handle an emergency
Theory and practical

Child Health Matters

Common accidents for 0-5s
Food hygiene (preparation and cooking)
Sun smart
Common childhood illnesses
Reducing the risk of cot death

In 2007 I did the following courses:

Childminding Preparation Course
Childminders Meeting the National Standards
Introduction to EYFS

I am booked to do a Child Safeguarding course and a Food Hygiene course soon!!!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

We cannot wait! Counting the days :)

We are off to sunny South Africa in January for a few weeks!

SA flights BOOKED!
Kruger National Park's Oliphants Camp and Lower Sabie Camp, BOOKED!
Drakensburg's Injusuthi, BOOKED!
Drakensburg's Wits End, BOOKED!
Pilgrim's Rest traditional Royal Hotel, BOOKED!
Graskop's artistic Graskop Hotel, BOOKED!
Mum's house, BOOKED! ;)

Lots of bush, wildlife, swimming and sunning.... heavenly!

Monday, 13 October 2008

A beautiful land... South Africa

A beautiful land with beautiful people.

Recent history: Had 1994 miracle of political power change... not something most countries would do sans a war... thereafter there was the further miracle of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.
Has bad things happen and good, as with any country. I miss her soil, her sun and her smile :)

Oops, sorry, we are in Spain!

Oi vey!!! I texted a mum this am as they hadn't arrived yet... had tried calling but no reply, so sent text.

Just got a text back... 'Sorry, but we got a last minute deal and we are in Spain! I kept aside some wedding cake for you'

I am gobsmacked. She got married last week and maybe they decided to have a lil honeymoon or something... but it would have been nice if she'd told me... we've been waiting for him for ages! Maybe parents think it doesn't matter as they will pay for today anyhow...? But that's not the point. Manners, consideration...

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Daddy's day off

The little one I have today was dropped off on daddy's day off... I fully expect to mind her as I am being paid to do so. Dad is off to a war museum! He is working this wkend. Some childcarers find this odd... that parents still need care for their child when they are off. I don't.

I don't think it's a case of not wanting to spend time with their lil one as they always ask me to mind her on their days off, but they are paying for my service and I expect her to come. They can do other errands etc. on their day off and spend quality time with her on the wkend.

It's also a case of watching the pennies... they HAVE to pay for the space, even if they are off, so get their monies worth... all my parents do this.

Re holiday notice, it is good manners (and should be contractual) that all parents give holiday notice, not only the minder.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Off to the hospital tomorrow!

I have the day off tomorrow, hubby is going in for a little op in the Day Surgery at Kingston Hospital, and will have a general anaesthetic, so I need to be there for him and get him home OK... spoiling ourselves and using a taxi! Am taking a book and itouch as no idea how many hours I will have to wait for him. I wonder if they'll have wireles for my itouch?

When home I will don my nurse outfit and look after the patient.

Anyway - those docs better take good care of my lad - feeling a lil weepy tonight, and very over protective! I know they do these things every day... but that aint helping.

Sometimes, loving someone so very very much really sucks.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Policies - all 44 of them!

I have a variety of policies in place. They are fundamental to how I run my business, and fall within the five outcomes of Every Child Matters:Change for Children. My policies file is available for viewing by my parents/prospective parents at any time.

to be healthy
Allergies policy
Asthma policy
Exclusion policy
Hand washing policy
Head lice policy
Health and hygiene policy
Healthy eating policy
Medicines policy
Non smoking policy
Sickness and emergency policy
Sickness management policy
Sun smart policy

stay safe
Accidents, injuries, illnesses and emergencies policy
Alcohol and drugs policy
Biting policy
Bullying policy
Child safeguarding policy
Confidentiality policy
Equipment and resources policy
Fire safety policy
Garden policy
Handing over of child/ren responsibility policy
Safety policy
Security policy
Terrorist attack or national emergency policy
Transporting children policy
Visitors in my home policy
Pet policy

enjoy and achieve
Care, learning and play policy
Equal opportunities policy
Language policy
Television policy
Settling in policy
Special needs policy

positive contribution
Behaviour policy
Behaviour management policy
Working together policy
Newsletter communication policy

Admissions policy
Allegations of abuse against a childminder procedure
Complaints procedure policy
Departure policy
Late payment of fees policy

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Arranged a cleaner!

OK, I have done it - yay!!! Organised a cleaner.
3 hours at £9 an hour, every 2 weeks.

I can still take care of usual cleaning/tidying with 4 under 4s, and hubby does hoovering, but she will get to the nitty gritty and the shoulder work - in the kitchen and bathroom primarily. I have asthma so strong cleaning materials are out of the question for me, plus I have a recovering tennis elbow injury from last year, so I have to be careful with not straining my right arm too much.

I am really delighted about this - hope she's nice!!!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Not sure what to do?

I have started a school run with a little boy for the first time. As I have 3 under 3, and a new 3 year old, and no car, when asked to do this I said I would only do one way, as I worked out (walking and bus trip), it would take me an hour there and an hour back.

I asked the other parents and they are fine with it, as long as babies aren't in the wind/rain etc. They trust me thankfully! I got the parents of the little boy to sign they were happy with this, and that I would phone one of them to fetch him should the weather be too bad to go out with 4 little ones. They readily agreed and signed.

This week I had to call for the first time - was pelting down outside, winds were high. Mum unavailable on her mobile. Dad got snotty on the phone with me, mumbling 'I knew this would be a problem, you know what would solve this? Their mother should be home with them! And this will only get worse as we head into winter'. He is often a bit sarcastic when fetching the kids anyway, and mum does most of the lifting. I didn't tell her about his complaining to me though, even though I thought it inappropriate. I did not want to casue any unnecessary tension, as I know she'd be upset with him if she knew he'd said that to me.

I have to push lunch and sleepytime an hour earlier for everyone, and the run takes most of the whole afternoon, so I am being VERY flexible for them, and want to help very much, but I do not need attitude at the end of the day. It's easy for him, he jumps in his car with his one child, and it takes quick quick. A totally different story for me.

I am stuck though as to what to do. After chatting with my sister this pm I think I'll give it a couple more weeks and then decide whether to continue or not. I'll also ask the mum if she has befriended any of the mums and if any live close by and could drop him off after nursery. I just feel in such a pickle. I don't want to let them down, but I have other kids to think of too! Plus I don't appreciate the complaining on the phone - he is obviously having issues with his wife working (she's been back at work for a year)... but the childminder is NOT the right ear to mention this to... no matter how well he thinks we get on.

I am not being funny, but as much as I love the kid, I have a waiting list and them leaving, although not ideal as I love him to bits... would not be a train smash for me business-wise, but he is so happy with me and all has been so lovely till this school run, and having all the kids so young and the run taking so long...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage)

The aim of the EYFS is to ensure there is a consistency in care and level of learning in a child's early years (0 to 5 years of age) throughout England, and this will be achieved by everyone implementing the Every Child Matters:Change for Children framework.

Every Child Matters has five outcomes:

  • To be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Positive contribution
  • Organisation

I plan, observe and assess within the different areas stated above. I have annual, monthly, weekly and daily plans, which includes outings, activities, food etc. and how they will relate to Every Child Matters.

The EYFS is based on four themes:

  • A unique child
  • Positive relationships
  • Enabling environments
  • Learning and Development

I write observation reports (supported with photographs/child's artwork) on said activities and outings, aligning the observation with that particular area of development.

Through ongoing assessments of your child, I can determine what he/she is able to do at their level of development, and what steps to take next in the development of your child in that particular area. Being aware of what interests your child has, I am able to plan activities and outings accordingly, to best bring their potential to the fore.

As my minded children are currently all still young (0- 3 years old), I have more *fluid* themes, and this will become more structured when children start attending pre-school. I will then work together with the teacher to reinforce the learning they are doing at school.

Throughout this, I work in full partnership with mum and dad.