Toby doesn’t like swimming anymore

We started going to Turtle Tots baby swimming classes when Toby was just over 3 months old. He’s never really seemed to love it but up until Christmas he didn’t have any problems in the pool and only ever cried for a couple of seconds, if at all. But since we went back, after a few weeks off over the holidays, he suddenly seems to hate it.

For the last three weeks Toby has spent at least part of each lesson crying. Sometimes it’s just a bit of sticking out of the lip and wimpering, but sometimes it’s full on screaming and it breaks my heart! This week he even had me crying too because he sounded so upset. I think getting Toby used to the water, and hopefully swimming while he is still very young is a fantastic idea but I’m not sure I can keep taking him when there is something about it which is clearly upsetting him. This week he started crying before we even got in the pool.

There are any number of things that might be wrong with him. First of all, the lesson is at 9:30 am a twenty-five minute drive away. Normally, Toby gets up about 8:30 am, has a bottle, a bit of a play, then another bottle and back in bed by 10 am at the latest. On swimming days I have to get him up early, he only has one bottle and (unless he has a quick nap in the car) he doesn’t get his morning sleep until after swimming is finished. The second problem could then also be that he is hungry – he’s normally had one and a half to two bottles within a couple of hours of being awake. Although, having said that he will never take a bottle straight after swimming so I don’t think he’s that hungry. In fact he’s always fine again as soon as we get out of the pool. So the last thing I can think of, and I’m hoping it’s this because it’s more easily fixed, is that he is feeling the cold. I don’t know why this would be bothering him more now than it did before Christmas, maybe the pool is a bit colder than it was. Anyway, he already uses a BabyWrap which I have mentioned before but I have now ordered a Warm in One from Splash About which is a full wetsuit with arms and legs. It’s fleece lined too so if he is cold then hopefully this will help. If not then my only other plan is to try and move to a class at a different time and see if that helps.

I don’t think I can go through many more weeks of my baby crying and screaming because of something I am making him do. I know I shouldn’t really blame myself; my husband has been great and tried to make me feel better by pointing out that Toby cries when I put his pyjamas on too, but that’s something that has to be done. I don’t have to take him swimming. Our Turtle Tots instructor has been great too, telling me that lots of babies have wobbles and Toby will get back into the swing of it. I hope so. I really don’t want to stop swimming lessons with Toby so if anyone else has any suggestions of what the problem might be and how we can fix it then please do let me know. Fingers crossed the new wetsuit does the trick and I’ll be sure to let you know how we get on. We have an underwater photo shoot booked for the end of March so I hope we get it figured out by then and Toby starts to enjoy his swimming again!

Happy after swimming

Longer school hours?


I’m linking up with the lovely Sara at mumturnedmom again this week for her linky ‘The Prompt’. This week’s prompt is a headline:

Lengthen school days and cut holidays, says former Tory adviser’ The Guardian (online) 29 Jan 2014

This story about longer school hours has been big news this week and lots of people have already blogged about it. I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to add my voice into the mix but this week’s prompt has somewhat forced my hand!

Lots of people have been getting their knickers in a twist about this news story and perhaps rightly so. As a teacher and a mum I think the idea of lengthening school days and shortening holidays is absolutely ludicrous. I could go on to make the same arguments as many others; kids need time to be kids, to be at home, to play; they need time out of school for extra curricular activities like dance classes, sports clubs, Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Guides; parents need to spend time with their kids, not pick them up from school, feed them and put them to bed. As a teacher I would ask anyone to come into a school at 3:30 pm and look at the kids; if anyone thinks those tired, worn out, fidgety kids, who have already been learning for six hours could manage until 6 pm then I would like to see them attempt to teach one of those classes. I teach at secondary school – even my 15 or 16 year olds would struggle to stay focused until 6 pm. How could anyone expect primary school age children to do it? And what about homework? Sometimes kids need time outside the classroom to consolidate what they have been learning, in their own time. If we were expecting them to be in school for 45 hours a week when would they have time for homework? And that’s not to mention finding teachers willing to teach for 45 hours a week, 45 weeks a year. According to the former Tory adviser, Paul Kirby, “This increase by two-thirds in the time that kids spend at school is designed to allow all parents to work full-time without the need for additional childcare.”  Does this mean an increase in teachers’ salaries by two-thirds as well? And if we’re teaching until 6 pm then when do we plan lessons, mark books, set assessments and all the other things that most teachers spend at least a few hours doing every day after the kids have gone home?

Anyway, those are all the arguments against a longer school day that I could make. But actually I’m not that worried about these proposals. Because that’s all they are, proposals on the personal blog of a man who doesn’t even work for the government anymore. And although it would appear Michael Gove seems intent on ruining the English education system with one unworkable, nonsensical policy after another, I don’t think even he could bring these proposals into practice. Teachers are already leaving the profession in their droves, if they were expected to teach for 45 hours a week, for 45 weeks in a year I don’t think there would be any teachers left!

Reasons to teach

Review: Mr Nutcase phone case

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am pretty much permanently attached to my phone. If I’m not checking Twitter or Facebook then I’m reading emails or playing the dreaded Candy Crush Saga! So my phone cases tend to get a bit of a battering. I’ve always just bought cheap rubber ones from eBay and replaced them when they wore out. My latest case had started to tear at the bottom a few weeks ago and I’d been eyeing up a personalised case so when I got the chance to get one from Mr Nutcase I couldn’t say no.

The Details

Personalised iPhone case

Mr Nutcase has a large selection of phone and tablet cases available on their website. You can either choose a case from the pre-designed collections, which can then be personalised with text or clipart, or you can upload your own images. For my iPhone 4 there were two options; the ‘Executive Flip Leather Style’ or the ‘Ultra Light Weight Slimline’, which is what I went for. I decided to design my own case using my own images as you can see in the picture. This case retails at £14.95.

The Pros 

  • The website was very easy to use. You simply choose the make and model of the device you want a case for, choose the type of case and away you go.
  • There are hundreds of designs to choose from if you want a pre-designed case and it is easy to search by style.
  • If you want to upload your own images there are lots of different layout options allowing you to choose how many photos you want to use.
  • Uploading the images from my computer was easy and once uploaded you just drag them into place on the case where you can then move and resize them.
  • The designer will let you know if your image quality isn’t good enough for the size you have chosen.
  • Once you are happy with your design you can submit it and then complete payment – free delivery is included in the price and orders are shipped the next day. I ordered my case on Monday, it was shipped in Tuesday and arrived on Wednesday. That’s pretty impressive for any online shopping but for a personalised product I thought it was incredibly speedy!
  • The case is well made and fits my phone perfectly. As you can see on the picture above the edges of the case are clear plastic with cut out sections for the buttons. It clips on easily but is barely visible from the front of the phone.
  • The images have been reproduced well – they have a matt finish which I wasn’t expecting but I actually like it.

The Cons

  • Although this is a great product and I am really pleased with my case, I thought that £14.95 was a little bit expensive for a phone case. Having had a quick Google though, it seems this is pretty much the going rate for this type of case.
  • The only other con, which isn’t really a fault of this case specifically, is that I find the hard plastic more uncomfortable to hold than my old rubber case.

The Verdict

The Mr Nutcase website was very easy to use, the case came out exactly as I designed it and the delivery time was amazing. If you are after a personalised case for your phone or tablet then I would definitely recommend Mr Nutcase.

**Disclaimer: I was given a code to order a phone case from the Mr Nutcase website in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

What is he thinking?


I’m linking up with the lovely Sara at mumturnedmom again this week for her new linky ‘The Prompt’.

I’m taking a slightly different angle on this weeks prompt, I hope you enjoy it.

Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. Ambrose Bierce

I open my eyes. It’s dark in here, apart from that blue light coming from behind the chair. I think I’ll just lie here for a bit. I might try out some of those noises I’ve been working on.

Still here. That woman who is always around usually comes and gets me after a while. I’ve rolled on to my tummy but now my hand seems to be stuck down the side of the mattress. Maybe I need to make my noises a bit louder. Ah, I heard someone moving. She’ll be here in a minute.

The light is on now. It’s very bright after I’ve been lying here in the dark. The woman has got my arm out and turned me on my back. I don’t want to be on my back. Oh, now she’s taking my out of the cosy thing and…jeez, it’s cold in here. And I bet she’s going to put me on that cold plastic mat thing in a second. Yep. I knew it. It’s OK though. I’ll just roll onto my front again. I can see what’s going on then.

Why does she keep turning me back over. Doesn’t she know I want to be on my front? Ooh, what’s going on now. I’ve suddenly got a cold bum. She’s taken that massive nappy off that I’ve been wearing all night. That’s better. I can kick my legs more now. I can probably get that foot in my mouth if I try hard enough. Or maybe I’ll roll over again. Oh, and look. If I push with my arms it makes me move backwards. That’s new. I want to try that again.

Damn it woman! Stop turning me over. No, I don’t want another nappy on. It’s harder to get my feet in my mouth when I’ve got a nappy on. Alright then. I’ll lie here just for a minute. It’s done now, are you happy? What? You want to put those trousers back on again? You only just took them off! No my feet aren’t cold. Why are you putting those socks on me? Never mind though, I know how to get those off. What do you think I am, a baby or something?!

I’m hungry now. Where’s my milk? No, don’t put me down. I don’t want to play with that stupid squeaky animal thing. Although, ooh, it’s quite nice when I put it in my mouth. But then I can’t fit my thumb in there. And what’s that outside? Why is that tree moving? And, hang on…I’m still hungry. I suppose I’m going to have to cry if I’m ever going to get what I want round here.

Yes. That’s what I wanted. Milk. It’s not warm enough though. You know I don’t like it when it isn’t warm enough. No, don’t just put it back in my mouth. I pushed it out for a reason. Ah, I think she’s worked it out. It’s warmer now. I’ll just lie here and suck for a bit. And I’ll try and grab this dangly thing coming off the woman’s jumper. Why won’t she let me pull it? What was I doing again? Oh yeah, milk, that was it. I’m bored of sucking now though – I think I’ll push it away again. Maybe just look at it for a minute. What happens if I pull on this rubbery bit? Oh milk in my eye! Actually I think I’m still hungry. Give me that bottle back! No, don’t sit me up. I don’t need to burp. Why are you rubbing my back? Can’t you see I’m still hungry? Oh, for god’s sake. Why do you never listen??


Wouldn’t life be easier if we knew what they were thinking?


Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (January 2014)

I know,I know… Another photo linky! Me & Mine is about capturing our whole family in a photo every month. I have hundreds of photos of Toby, quite a few of him with his dad, even less of me and him and hardly any of the three of us. So by participating in this linky, I’ll be sure that we’ll have at least 12 pictures of the three of us by the end of the year. I only just found out about this linky so I’m a bit late with the January post but hopefully you’ll forgive me this time! This also means this month’s photo is taken in our living room – in months to come I want to try and capture our family when we’re out and about.

Family Portrait January

January has been a fairly quiet month in our house while we recovered from travelling to see both our families after Christmas, and we also recovered from a £1600 bill to replace the hip tiles on our roof after some storm damage – just what we needed a week before Christmas! So this month has been a month of frugality and waiting for pay day. I’m very much looking forward to a nice short February, the nights starting to get lighter again, and hopefully having some adventures.

Looking (The Ordinary Moments #12)

Another week and time for some more Ordinary Moments with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me.

Looking - The Ordinary Moments

Every morning we get up, Toby gets a clean nappy and then we come downstairs. Even though usually he hasn’t had any milk for the last 14 hours or so, Toby needs to have a little awake time before he works up his appetite for breakfast. So I put him on his play mat (we just got a new one with lots of space) for a wriggle and he likes to look out of the window and see what’s happening in the garden. There’s not much to look at at the moment but as we head in to spring he’ll be able to see the bulbs coming up and everything getting more colourful. For now though he seems happy enough just looking.

mummy daddy me

A letter to Matilda Mae

Matilda Mae

Dear Matilda Mae,

I didn’t know you.

I never met you and I have never met or spoken to your mummy or daddy, or your brother or sister.

Until I started writing a blog a few months ago I had never even heard of you.

When I started writing about my little boy Toby I started talking to lots of other bloggers on Twitter and I saw your name come up over and over again.

It was around the time of the Welly Walk that your mummy and daddy had organised.

So I went to your mummy’s blog to find out what it was all about.

And that was when I found out about you and what had happened.

I read your mummy’s letter to you and I could not imagine the pain she must have felt.

The pain that your whole family must still feel.

I can honestly say I have thought about you every day since then.

Your name is always in my mind.

Little Matilda Mae who has gone to the stars.

But gone too soon.

You have touched the lives of so many people.

Your mummy has done so much to raise awareness and raise money for The Lullaby Trust.

So that perhaps another baby might live.

Even though you could not.

Every night I give my little Toby Bear an extra kiss.

So that he might stay safe.

And I think of you.

Matilda Mae.

You will never be forgotten.

Love xx

P.S. Purple is my favourite colour too.


Living Arrows 4/52

This is now week four in the I Heart Snapping Living Arrows project – I can’t believe how fast time is going at the moment!

This week I decided to post two pictures. In both pictures I have chosen Toby isn’t looking at the camera and I love the serious expressions he has. I’ve also done a bit of editing on both photos to make them almost black and white. My husband has Photoshop but seeing as I have to borrow his laptop to use it I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting with It seems pretty good for what I need it for, for the moment anyway.

Here’s the shots. I’m really pleased with them but please let me know what you think.

Serious baby

Baby in a bear suit

living arrows