How to choose Good Childcare for your little one? What choices do you have?

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Todays post is one that is very close to my heart and one that I have been asked many, many times from Parents in the past.

How do I know what is the best form of Childcare for my baby?  What choices are out there?

I qualified as a NNEB Nursery Nurse way back in 1980 and I have worked across all areas of childcare from being a Nanny, working in School as a Special Support Assistant, Children Centres as a Play leader and running my own Playgroup and dedicated Event/Wedding Nanny, right up to my role for the last 10 years as a Childminder, rated Good by Ofsted. So I feel I might have enough experience to help you with this question.

If you are in the position of needing childcare, it can be a mine field trying to work out what is best for your own child, its so hard having to even think of going back to work after a baby, but sometimes its for economical reasons or career reasons, back to work you must go.

So lets look at what choices you have.

Ok so we have worked out that for what ever reason you now need to go back to work. Its a terrifying prospect but it has to be done, so what choices are there?

Basically you have


1/ If they are  available and not working the times you need themselves.

2/If they are living close enough to make it feasible to use them for childcare

3/ If they are young enough to manage caring for a young baby or child

4/ If they are in good health themselves to be able to care for a young child or baby.

But remember this, Family may have other commitments that might not suit yours sometimes. You may need extra hours that they might not be able to fulfil or you might feel uncomfortable asking them. They might decide after a while that it is to much for them and you are then back to square one, looking for childcare again. On the other hand it may  be the perfect solution.


This can be expensive and you need to remember that your child will be one of many. They will not get one to one care and attention, as the carers have to consider all the children in each group they manage. But you may feel that the option is more appealing to have more than one member of staff working with your child and your child will be mixing with a larger group of children. Sometimes there can be as many as 20 children to each room. Also the building will be a dedicated childcare environment. Nurseries are inspected by Ofsted and need to comply to certain regulations. The staff will all have some form of childcare qualification and undergo regular in house training. The hours they are open will be set and they will not be able to care for sick children, so you will need to be able to arrange for cover if you have to work and your child is sick. Also be aware that if you are late collecting your child you will be charged a extra fee, without exception. Ask for references , as this is a good way of finding out what parents think of the Nursery. Lastly take a look around you. Do the children look happy? Do the staff look happy? How do you feel about the place?


A childminder works either alone or with assistants, she can have up to 4 children under 3 and 6 under 8 at any one time on her own. The numbers will change if she has an assistant. They work from their own home, but some like me have dedicated childcare spaces, set out with toys and equipment both within a certain space in the house and in their gardens, much like a Nursery. Also like a Nursery they are inspected by Ofsted and need to comply to certain regulations. Your child will have more one to one attention and although they will be in smaller groups, they will be mixing both in the Childminder’s home environment and within the community at Playgroups, outings etc. So if your child getting outside and mixing into the community is important to you, this is something you need to think about. Ask the Childminder about her typical day, what does she do ? where does she go? what activities does she have to offer? You will be surprised how much she can pack into a day. Childminders didn’t have to be trained, but these days all childminders are trained and have to be qualified in First Aid and Food Hygiene , some like me have formal training as well. So don’t be afraid to ask what qualifications they have, im sure they will be more than happy to let  you know what they have in place. Also ask for references, as these are a good way of chatting to other parents who use the service and what experiences they have had with their own children. Ask yourself some questions, Do the children look happy and are they busy playing? Where will your children sleep? How does she deal with discipline? Like a Nursery , Childminders are not able to except sick children , so again you will need a back up plan in case you need to work over those times. Unlike Nurseries, Childminders set their own working times, some may be flexible and able to accommodate extra hours or days, this may be something you need to ask . Also some will charge for late pick up’s and some will not bother. Its down to the individual person how she runs her business.

Private Nanny

This is the most expensive choice of the lot. But it is something that you may feel is the best choice for your family. The Nanny could be qualified or not, there are no laws that say a Nanny needs to be qualified or inspected by any governing body, to date (2017) this may change in the future. To find a Nanny you can either

1/ go through an Agency which you will need to pay a fee to register with. The advantage of this is that the Agency should have vetted the prospective Nannies for you and will give you a list of suitable Nannies for you to consider. Some may even interview them for you, however I suggest that you do this yourself if you have the time. They will all be different and you need to be able to get along with her and feel confident that she know what she is doing.

2/ Advertise for a Nanny yourself through magazines or newspapers or the Social Media. Be very aware of checking all their papers and qualifications, CRB and Passports. Also think of your own safety when interviewing these people. I would suggest that if possible you interview them outside of your own home and away from your children for the first interview, then once you have checked the credentials out and are happy with what you have read about them, you could invite them for a second interview. Never take someone on before you have done an Enhanced CRB and you have checked out references. Remember this person is going to be working in your home around your personal items and will be in charge of your child.

A Nanny can be full or part time, they can live in  or out of your home and will work hours that you stipulate at interview. You can also set the expected duties that you wish them to complete. They will be able to care for your child whilst it is ill and you can build in some babysitting duties as well if that is something you may require. You will be employing the person to work for you and as such you will be expected to pay all stamp duties and income tax as well as provide meals and possible sick pay. You will need to check with the national Insurance and Tax people as to the current regulations you need to apply to in your own country and area you live in, as these can change from place to place.

If you wish your child to accompany you on Business trips or you require childcare on Holiday and Vacation’s then a Nanny will be an asset to you. I have worked as a Nanny in the past and I have had some good experiences and some bad ones, always remember it is a two way street, you may be employing her but you need to make sure she is happy and her needs are being met as well as the needs of yourself and your child or children.

Lastly you  can always team up with another family to employ a Nanny as a Nanny Share. This is where two families share the same Nanny and as such you share the costs involved with employing the Nanny . She works her hours across both homes and will usually live out.

So the initial choice is a very personal one, and if you don’t have a definite choice in mind, I always suggest that you explore all the options in your area, you will know instinctively what you like and don’t like about each place. Write notes and ask questions at every place you go to. The staff wont mind and you will feel you have made the right choice when you do. Ask about staff qualifications and training, if this is something that concerns you. Ask other Parents you know about their feelings on each place, recommendation goes along way. But also remember that what suite one person , may not be right for another, so don’t right something off because your friend didn’t like it. Go and check it out for yourself. Think of all the areas that might arise and how you will cope. Will you be able to take time off if your child is ill? or will you need to have someone who is able to do this for you? How will you fund your childcare? Check out if you are able to get Government help towards the cost of childcare.

As you can see there is a awful lot to think about and take into consideration when choosing childcare. Take your time and give yourself plenty of time to explore all options, leaving it to the last minute to find suitable childcare will cause you lots of stress and frustration. Think about availability of space, the place you are looking at may not have spaces, or the Nanny may need to give notice at their current place first before she can start with you.

So  now you have an outline of all the options available, take this and see what is available around you, make a list and go and see them. Explore what’s around you and feel excited about this new venture. Be confident that you as a parent will make the right choices that suit you and your individual family.

I hope you have found this article informative and interesting. If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me and I will help all I can. Don’t forget to Share across all your Social Media sites. and with your friends. Thanks for reading

Sandra xxx

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Cant Get Your Baby/Toddler to Sleep? Have you looked at the Bedroom? with

Hello and Welcome Back to my Blog, and if this is the first post you have read, Welcome.

Todays post is the first I am going to write on helpful ways, tips and advice on how to deal with a Baby or Toddler that wont get to sleep, sleep in their own bed, or screams when going to bed. So if you are having problems in this area, subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss a single post. If you have any questions that I haven’t answered, drop me a line and I will do my best to answer.


Why do I think I am able to write posts like this and what do I know?

I qualified as a NNEB Nursery Nurse in 1980 and I have been working with children ever since. In February 2015 I completed a training course held by MNT training for a OCN Sleep Training Level 3  for which I achieved 97% pass rate. you can find the course here

I also completed a Baby  Safe Sleep Training course in December 2014 and a Time to Sleep Workshop held by Scope in January 2015

so with that and the experience I have gained working with children and bringing up my own three boys, I feel I might have something worth sharing with you. Having said that I can not offer any guarantees, and theories change from time to time, but these tips I am about to give you have worked with families in the past and have given good results.

So lets get into it, you will be wanting to get going as soon as possible as I am sure you are exhausted with having months of little sleep. I cant think of anything worse than  lack of sleep. Its no wonder they used it as a form of torture in the war. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing to go through and it affects every member of the family, it affects your relationship with your child, your partner and your work and social life. If you are lucky enough at this moment in time to have one.

So im going to assume you child/baby has its own room. If not then that’s the first step

1/ your child/baby has to have its own room to be able to sleep right through the night and have a good nights sleep.

Why? you might say,….. he/she is to small …how will I hear them if they wake up?….how will I settle not being able to see them?…. these are all questions I hear you say. But lets look at it a little deeper.

We all wake during the night, yes that right you heard me right there, everyone of us wakes up many times in the night. Our sleep pattern goes through a process of light , medium and heavy sleeping. The light is within the first 30 minutes when we are just drifting off, then we go into a medium sleep where we are dreaming, and then we have the heavy sleep , this part we are not aware of , we don’t dream and don’t remember it. We are able to drift between these levels and do drift between these levels many times in the course of our sleep.

Have you ever heard a noise in the House in the middle of the night? you where asleep and then suddenly you are wide awake. This is our safety mechanism , we are able to go from deep sleep to awake very easily. Also this means that unconsciously we awake and go back to sleep many times in the night. Everybody does it and its quite natural.

So this is natural for your baby to wake during the night…….Oh No I hear you shout…So does that mean iv got to put up with this for ever? No of course not, your child just needs to learn how to get themselves back to sleep. But hang on that’s another blog post and will follow shortly.

First we need to get the place where your little one will sleep sorted out.

So Yes you do need to give your Little One their own room, if you are short of space, only have one bedroom or your children have to share, that’s ok we can get around that. But for the purpose of this post we will assume you have the space for them to have their own room.

So when you set up this lovely room you fill it with bright colours, lots of cuddly toys, musical mobiles and  other cute things.

If we want to make this a place where your child/baby will sleep all through the night, giving you and them and lets face it the whole family a much needed good nights sleep , we need to think about this room differently.

Firstly lets look at the window- what curtains or blinds are in place? we need to think about the light from outside getting in. So I strongly suggest you add either Black Out Curtains or for cost sake buy Black Out Linings to attach to the back of the original curtains. You need to get the room as dark as possible. Why ? because if you want your child to go to bed at lets say 6pm UK time, that could well still be light in the Summer months and they are not going to think it is bedtime. If the room is dark or at least very dimly lit, it will encourage sleep by encouraging relaxation and light association. Dark or dull light means sleep. So that is the first step done. Work with me through these steps so you don’t forget and miss anything out.

Step 2

As lovely as it is to fill your childs room with stuffed toys and musical mobiles , the whole reason you are reading this post is to get your child to sleep. So for the time being while we are going through our sleep training time, I want you to remove all the toys and teddies from the room and put them somewhere in the Living Room or Kitchen or where ever you spend the largest amount of time in the day. Daytime is for playing and Night time is for sleeping. If you think about it, you spend all day trying to stimulate your child with musical toys, activity toys with bright light and noises, which is perfect, well done, but how can you do that during the day and then expect them to ignore them at night when they need to be sleeping. So just for now, put everything in a box and store it somewhere so that you can use it in the day and then tidy it away for bedtime. You can reintroduce things once we have a pattern of sleep in place.

Step 3

Take the musical mobile off the end of the cot and the light up lullaby moon, you know what I mean. These are all stimulation and there is nothing worse than getting your child to sleep and then hitting your head on the mobile which flies  off into singing BaBa Black Sheep , startles both you and your child and that’s it they are awake again and its time to start all over again. So for now they need to be moved to another place. Also we don’t want to form sleep habits, but I will touch on this aging in another post.

Step 4

we now have the room so it can be made darker and all the stimulating toys and distractions taken away, now we need to look at the position of the cot or bed and the temperature of the room. This is important to good  sleep habits. Take a look at where you have positioned the bed or cot. Is it near a window or a radiator? is it behind the door? If you have room to move the cot or bed around, then it would be best to move it away from the window, this is because of light from outside and outside noise. Think Summer time, and early morning workers going off to their jobs. Also the light from the window can make the bed or cot very hot in the Summer and possible draftee, although this wont happen much these days with double glazing and all. Try to position the cot or bed in an alcove , so that it is away from drafts, and away from noises of people walking past the door etc.

Lets take a look at the temperature of the room. The bedroom needs to be not to hot or to cold. around 72 deg is about perfect for sleeping. You can set the radiators to the correct temperature and you can buy a room temperature gauge fairly cheaply these days.


Taking these steps and following them through is sometimes all it takes to make a calm and relaxing room for your child to sleep in. This is sometimes all it takes to get your child to sleep through. But for those that need more help. I will be providing more information in up and coming blog posts. So don’t forget to subscribe and comment bellow. Let me know if you have found any difference in the sleep pattern since you have made the changes in the room. I am breaking each step down  into individual blog posts so you have chance to work through and then something to go back to if you need a reminder later.


I hope you have found this post interesting , keep an eye out for the following post on

Sandra xx

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Spring Cleaning my Wardrobe and getting organised

Hello and Welcome to my latest blog post here on

Today I have decided that as I have a few days off work, im going to Spring Clean my Wardrobe and get organised once and for all.

I have a wardrobe stuffed with items that never see the light of day , so its about time that I did something about it. I’m terrible for keeping things, thinking that I will slim back into them. But to be honest when I loose my weight (and I will) I wont want to wear those clothes anymore anyway, so they have to go.

I have just read a super book on my Kindle called  In The Jumble:The Joys of Finding, buying and wearing second hand clothes by Victoria Lochhead

this lady is a personal stylist and in this book she talks about her challenge of going a year without buying new. you can learn about her here

So armed with all the information from this funny and informative book, I decided I was going to give my wardrobe a good Spring clean and only keep the items that fit me and suit my colouring and age.

In Victoria’s book she talks about finding your correct colour chart, it seems we are either Spring, Summer ,Autumn or Winter people. So I took to Google to find how to look up what I am.

This is the site I went onto to find out more about what colours I should be wearing and how to wear them. There are lots of information to be found on here, so pop over and take a peek.

Let me know what colour’s you should be wearing and if they are very different to what you are wearing now?

So I did the test on there and according to the Chief Fashionista I am a Soft Autumn and I should be wearing

Mahogany, Brown, Medium Grey, Dusty Pink, Buttermilk, Turquoise, Dark Plum, Camel, Khaki, Grey, Coral, Mint, Jade, Aubergine, Light Peach, Deep Rose, Light Coral, Terracotta, Emerald Turquoise, Sea green and Purple.

According to Victoria’s book, the best way to start to de-clutter is to gather every bit of clothing you have and pile it all onto the bed, dig it out of the wardrobe, drawers, cupboards , ironing pile and washing basket.

Phew there is a lot- what a mess

Then you have to try everything on and what doesn’t fit, makes you feel Yuk or drags you down goes into the Bin Bag  to get taken to the Charity Shop. You have to be ruthless here, no if’s or maybe’s , if it doesn’t fit, its going. Come on you can do it. If I can you can. Be Ruthless.

Ok 6 Bin Bags later and what’s left, all fits me, isn’t squashed and crammed in and I can see what I have.

Now the next bit and this is going to take some time , is to put all the different items you have left into outfits. Il be honest here, I haven’t done that yet.

Work in Progress as they say….but the hardest bit is over….now im going to try and follow the rest of the advice in the book and buy things that will make people look at me and go “Wow you look Amazing”, and I want to try and save money by buying from Charity Shops, Ebay and online.


Wish me Luck…..let me know in the comments below how you get on with your De-Clutter?, what colour season you are? and if  you could go a year only buying second hand clothes?

Sandra xxxx

Disclaimer- all the opinions in this blog post are my own, I have not been indorsed, sponsored or given any free gifts to write this post , I have done it because I feel it could be interesting to you to read. Is it?

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What’s New about Pro-Aging?

Hello Ladies, and Welcome to my latest blog post here at

I would like to chat to you today about Pro-Aging as against Anti-Aging, what is the difference ? and does it matter what they call it?

For years women have tried to turn back the clock to an earlier time in their lives, a time when they believed they where more beautiful. A younger time, when they where in their 20’s or 30’s and their skin, eyes and hair where brighter and firmer. Or so they thought.

Ladies I have news for you there is no more beautiful time than right here, right where you are standing now.

For years we have had to disguise and hide our natural ageing, and if we didn’t people would say ” she has let herself go”. The pressure to try and maintain that youthful look we once had is costing us thousands and making the cosmetic surgeons and the cosmetic industry as a whole a fortune.

When you are in your 50’s and above you should give out a sigh of relief. No more monthly period spots, or over greasy skin and hair. It wasn’t all rosé and bright, there was probably things you didn’t like about yourself then as well.

We are pressured into believing we should fit into a certain box, to get on in our jobs, please our other half’s, or get noticed.

Pro-Aging is about taking away that pressure of trying to be something we are not, that trying to have the perfect look we had in our early years. Now as women who have lived our lives, we can rejoice in the fact that we have survived the Ex’s, gone through the bringing up the children stage and should be happy that now we can finally spend some time on us. We have worked hard so we deserve it.

Pro-aging is all about being healthy on the inside so we can glow on the outside, wearing what we like and not what we think everyone else will like, having the confidence to do what makes us happy. And that has to be a Beautiful thing on its own. Right?

Our skin and hair and body as a whole changes as we get into our 50’s and above. But it was changing when we where in our 20’s and 30’s as well, we started to age from the day we where born. Its an on-going thing, nothing new there.

Our skincare should now be centred on Moisturising and nourishing our skin, giving it all the moisture it needs. Moisturising creams may be to heavy now, so look towards the Oils that are available on the market. My skin drinks it in.

Our cosmetics should now be about finding something that matches your skin colour and type, rather than trying to cover up wrinkles and lines. Or as I call them (my life laughter lines, cos iv lived a bit lol) We want products that enrich our skin and give it some LOVE.

Supporting the Pro-aging era are some stunningly beautiful women who are all in their 50’s or above. Celebrities such as Twiggy, Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley.

Its about making choices that make you feel great and be happy. So Ladies come on and join the pro-age celebrations, its all about loving life, improving your health and skin from the inside out and learning to do what makes you happy. Being happy makes you smile and a women who smiles is Beautiful.

The Glass isn’t Half Empty it’s Half Full and im going to enjoy my life to the full and embrace every bit of it, come on and join me.

Sandra xxx

10 simple ideas on how to communicate with someone who has Alzheimer’s

Hello and Welcome to my latest Blog post

as many of you will know now, I write regular articles around living with my Mum who has Alzheimer’s and how it affect both me and my family and of course how it affects my Mum.

Life changes when something like this happens in your life, it is never going to be the same and neither are they.

Its cruel and unforgiving, confusing and disturbing

I noticed that Mum was becoming more and more agitated, confused and upset over things. She was truly believing things that where not happening and becoming distressed because of it. She would do things repetitively over and over again, things that made no sense to me . She constantly thinks things belong to someone else and they want them back, things like bedding and clothes. So she is constantly packing things away into bundles. Its so hard.

As her mind is breaking down with the condition, her short term memory is deteriorating and it is harder for her to remember even the smallest of things that have just happened.

So here is my list of 10 ways to make communication easier

1/ Write small notes and post them onto Windows, Doors and Cupboards as prompts to help them to remember. Things like “Don’t forget your Keys”, “Lock up before you go out”, “turn the oven off”, they are all small prompts for the everyday things we take for granted, but they are now struggling with.

2/Get outside Agencies involved with putting in safety alarms to the doors, key safe outside for carers to use to gain access, safety devices to wear around their necks in case of falls, so they can call for help. All of these things will help them to remain in their own homes for as long as possible and give them as much independence and choices as possible, while still making sure they are safe in their own home.

3/Don’t contradict them when they get something wrong in a conversation. If you do it will only add to the confusion and make them agitated, as they realise they have got something wrong again. Instead try and go along with the flow of conversation and gradually guide them back into the correct way of thinking or the correct situation. So it is done in a natural manner and they will then except this and not become upset thinking they have got it wrong again.

4/Because the short term memory is the first thing to go with Alzheimer’s, I find talking about the past is easier and gives them more comfort than trying to talk about things that have just happened. Use photos as prompts and things that have been around them and are familiar. Bringing in new items  can cause confusion, as they are to new and they haven’t got any connection with them, so they cant remember where they came from or why they have them.

5/Keep information simple and break things down into small steps. It is easier to cope with things when they are broken down into small, easy to understand steps. and continue to repeat actions until they become familiar. Keeping a routine helps for this.

6/Don’t ask questions that require them to give detailed answers. Such as “what did you have for Breakfast?”, instead change that sentence into “Have you eaten today?”. It is easier for them to answer “have you   eaten today?” as it isn’t as much to understand and the instruction or question is easier to answer and doesn’t require as much thought.

7/Change how you talk to them and what you are saying. Try to give verbal prompts such as instead of saying “look who is this ?” say things like “look, here is your Grandson, Blake, he has come to see you”. That is giving them a chance to be ready to join in with the conversation and to recognise the person who comes into the immediate circle of people. It is helping them to understand that someone else is going to be joining the conversation and to give them a verbal prompt as to who it is and hopefully alleviate any upset when they don’t remember a persons name or who they are.

8/Us outings and activities to change the environment they are living in and to help them gain new experiences to stimulate the brain and keep things in perspective for them.

9/Try to reassure them that what is happening is not them being daft or stupid. Its hard for them to understand why they are getting things wrong and they can become emotional and feel that they are always wrong and inadequate.

10/ always remember who they where before this illness robbed them of their memory, and try not to become frustrated and angry with them. Getting cross with them will  only add to the confusion and make things worse. If things are becoming to much for you and you feel it is to upsetting to watch your love one like this, give yourself some time off and allow others to help. Its hard to always be the supportive one , allow others to support and help you.

I am writing these posts as a way to help myself and the things I am going through with my Mother. I am not qualified or hold any kind of certificate making me a professional in any way. I am learning as I go along, just like you. Please feel free to ask me any questions in the box below. I will always reply. I cant promise I will have an answer , but I have ears and I will happily listen. Because sometimes that’s all that is needed.

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