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October 2016

Our Water Babies swimming class experience

When we visited Eurocamp in June one of the free activities we tried as a family were the Learn To Swim classes. At the time Alice was only 7 months old and we were actually trying to get Theo to swim, not her, but she surprised us all by being noticeably confident and enthusiastic in the pool, so much so that the teacher asked us how many lessons she’d already had! When we came home and I had the best of intentions to embrace her enthusiasm and enroll her in some baby swim classes, but somehow never got round to it… until fate intervened and Water Babies asked me to try lessons with them for a term.

national baby swimming week

I had no idea what to expect, I sort of vaguely new of Water Babies because of their famous photos of babies swimming underwater, but I didn’t know how that fitted into the curriculum or how early babies can start swimming. We’ve been attending lessons for a couple of months now and Alice has risen to every challenge thrown at her. I had dreaded the thought of going to a massive public pool with tiny cubicles and so was pleased and relieved to discover my local classes are held at a rather exclusive health club with a view of the golf course. I won’t lie, it’s still pretty exhausting wrestling a baby into and out of swimwear once a week, but at least I get to do it in very nice surroundings and big cubicles!

This week is National Baby Swimming Week and so I’m sharing my thoughts and experiences on the classes so far in the video below. We started at the very beginning in September with the tiny babies and then moved up to Chapter 5 with the babies who are one year and older so I’ve seen quite a broad spectrum of teaching.

When I was talking to Water Babies last week they mentioned some statistics they had about the large number of children who start primary school not being able to swim and it really hit a chord because Theo is a year into school and we still haven’t cracked it with him, despite having access to a family pool in the summer. My blogging partnership with Water Babies will end in a couple of weeks, but we have already decided to stay on as paying customers to give Alice the best possible chance of swimming independently as soon as she’s able.

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Shark hoodies, upcycled formula tins and organic cotton #LittleLoves

We’ve had a busy but enjoyable week this week. Jim has been off for half-term which has meant we’ve been able to tick a few DIY jobs off the list. Some jobs were small like putting up a shelf up or fixing a plumbing problem, others a little bigger, like constructing a deck to form our veranda at the front of the house, which he has been working on for the last couple of days.

And it’s Alice’s first birthday today! Although we’ll actually be doing our celebrating tomorrow when we see family. The great thing about children’s birthdays when they are younger is that you can move them slightly to suit everyone’s plans… The other great thing is that they are none the wiser if you are making a quilt for their birthday and it’s going to be a few days late!



A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of this article in the Guardian which questions whether our obsession with sharing our food on social media (and Instagram in particular) is unhealthy for our diets and for food waste. It’s an interesting read and a timely reminder that as bloggers we have the power to influence for better and for worse.


A couple of weeks ago I was going through the Telegraph’s list of the best films available on Amazon Prime and I discovered 99 Homes, a film about the housing crash in America. It’s one of the best and most thought provoking movies I have seen for a while. Unusually for me I sat glued to it and watched the entire thing without picking up my tablet or phone. I’d never heard of it before I saw it on the Telegraph list, but it’s gripping and really worth watching.


We’ve been binge watching season 2 of Nashville this week while Jim has been on leave. As a long-time closet country music fan I am loving the music in it and have added the soundtrack(s) to my Christmas list.


This week I used some of the leftover Novasol spray paint from Theo’s dip dye highchair to spray one of my last formula tins. It’s now a useful and attractive storage container for dead batteries next to my computer.  I still have a couple more tins which will get madeover when I have paint leftover from another project


I’ve also been working on that previously mentioned memory quilt for Alice which is made from her baby clothes…

Memory quilt in progress...


Since I embraced the capsule wardrobe phenomenon earlier this year I have been trying to be more thoughtful and conscientious about the clothes I buy. I want to buy things that will last and are made sustainably as much as possible. One thing I try to seek out is organic cotton, not just because cotton crops use a disproportionate amount of fertilizer, but also because I can feel the difference in the end product. I love these ones I picked up from People Tree


Theo has also been enjoying wearing his brilliant handmade shark hoodie from JJ Jiraffe. Vicky who makes the clothes has some lovely stuff including dinosaur hoodies (for both genders) and a lovely selection of fabrics you can choose for baby leggings, she also does giveaways, dips and market sales on her facebook page. We are collaborating with her at the moment in an ambassador role to help her promote this already successful small business.


And lastly..

Theo and I went to a brilliant 6th birthday party yesterday at Tuppenny Barn, our local organic growing small holding. Amazing weather and simple fun activities for the kids to take part in which they all loved. It was unlike any kids birthday party I have ever been to. And talking of Tuppenny, if you are near Chichester, they are organising a ethical fashion event in a couple of weeks which I’m going to. It’s only £10 a ticket and you can find out more here.

Joining with Morgana for Little Loves.

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Which are the best wellies for walking the dog?

Two years ago I wrote this post about my search for the perfect pair of comfortable supportive wellies. When you live in the countryside and have two dogs to walk you unavoidably spend a fair bit of time over the winter months wearing wellies and there is nothing more maddening than a pair that lack decent grip on the sole or start to leak after a few months. Back in 2014 I wrote a list of some of the popular brands and shared my knowledge and experiences of them and I thought I’d update it to include amongst other things, my latest pair of premium boots from Bogs Footwear…

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Toddler t-shirts four ways

I’ve mentioned this before, but I really object to some of the crazy prices shops charge for kids clothing and as much as I love to splash out on the odd bit of handmade loveliness, I try and avoid lining big coporations pockets by paying £20 for a toddler t-shirt that cost about £2 to manufacture, especially when I can pick up a multi-pack of four for £10.50 and then spend a couple of weeks happily experimenting with ways to customise them.

Pinterest is full of tutorials that show you how to use simple stuff that you may already have at home to turn plain tees into something special, but do the methods actually work? I decided to use my last multi-pack to try some of the ideas and to try some simple ones of my own and report back on the success or failures of the ideas…

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Dip dye high chair makeover

I don’t know what it is with me and varnish this week, but it’s almost like I’m wandering round the house looking for wooden things to cover in paint! This week’s second makeover is my childhood high chair which has been in the family for many years and is currently used by Theo.

He has been asking for it to be painted red since he was old enough to speak, so I thought I’d finally grant him his wish, except that as soon as I said I’d spray it red he added another condition. He now wanted it red and pink!

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