Back to work

Keeping in Touch days

Did you know that if you are on maternity leave you may be able work up to ten Keeping In Touch (or KIT) days, which you should be paid for, without it affecting your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)? These days are optional and must be agreed in advance with your employer. I am fortunate that the council I work for allows KIT days and pays a full day’s salary for each day worked. As a teacher it is important that I keep up to date with what is happening in my profession, and this is even more important this year as new qualifications are introduced into Scottish secondary schools.

I worked one KIT day in November on an in service day. I got to attend some meetings with other languages teachers which was really useful. When I was planning my next KIT days I was keen to have a day in school actually teaching so I arranged to go in on a day when one of the other languages teachers was going to be out of school so I could cover her classes. As it happened this was the day before another in service day so I agreed I would work that day too.

Me going into work for two days meant that the hubby had to take two days off work to look after Toby. My mum has offered to come up and stay and look after Toby but I was a bit worried that she had never looked after him on her own before. Having had two kids of her own I’m sure she is perfectly capable but the trouble with living 250 miles away is that Toby has only actually met his grandparents five or six times, and although he’s always seemed perfectly happy with my mum I’m not sure how he would be on his own with her all day without me or his dad around. The other worry I have is that my mum has a bit of a bad back. Most of the time it’s fine but it’s one of those bad backs that can just ‘go’. Toby isn’t a tiny baby any more and I worry that if my mum had to pick him up all day and her back went she’d be stuck, unable to get him off the floor or out of his cot. So anyway, the hubby booked his two days off work and I got ready to go back to the chalkface.

I don’t know if it makes me a terrible mother but I was actually looking forward to a couple of baby-free days! I would be teaching some of the same kids I had last year and I was keen to make sure I hadn’t forgotten what I was doing. And do you know what, it was as if I’d never been away! I even remembered all the kids’ names. I really enjoyed teaching again and I was glad the kids listened to me and didn’t give me too much bother.

The hubby, on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. My two days at work just happened to coincide with Toby’s first two teeth cutting through, both at the same time, leading to a very grumpy and upset baby. He was ill when I went into school in November too. Maybe he just knows that I’m not going to be there so makes life hard for his dad!

I’ve not planned my next KIT day yet. I don’t think I’ll be doing all ten – although I’d like to, it means the hubby using up a lot of his annual leave just to stay at home looking after Toby. I’d rather he saved them so we can have time together as a whole family. Although I enjoyed my days back at school I’m not sure I’m going to like it quite as much when I have to go back to work full time in August. Leaving Toby with his dad for a couple of days is a very different prospect to leaving him at nursery five days a week. But for now I’m going to make the most of my odd days back at work and remember what it is like to be me and not just Toby’s mum.

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Toby swims again! (An update)


You may have read my post a couple of weeks ago about how Toby has been crying at every swimming lesson since Christmas. There were a few things that might have been causing the problem and I got lots of advice from all you lovely readers.

Well, I have good news to report! Last week we couldn’t go to our normal swimming lesson because I was going to work, so instead we went on our own to a different leisure centre where they have a warm water pool. We also went in the middle of the day as I had a feeling getting up early and missing his nap was also upsetting Toby. It was a success! We did everything that we normally do in a lesson, including submersions, and Toby didn’t cry once. I wasn’t sure whether we would actually be able to swap our lesson to this other pool but our lovely Turtle Tots instructor sorted it out for us. The new lesson is at 11 am, rather than 9:30 am so it also means that, although it is still during nap time, Toby can either get a bit more sleep in the morning and a nap in the car on the way there, or if he is up early there is time to go back to bed for a quick nap before we go.

We went to the new lesson yesterday and it was great. Toby still wasn’t smiling and laughing but he wasn’t crying either which was a massive improvement. I’m sure as he gets used to it, and realises swimming doesn’t mean being cold anymore, that he will start enjoying himself soon enough.

And swapping swimming lessons has also had a useful side effect – we were going to move to the next Baby Sensory class (for 7-13 month old babies) which was at 10:30 am and so again I was worried that this would be a problem as it is during Toby’s usual nap time. The only other suitable class was at 1 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, which we couldn’t do as we had swimming in the morning and it would have been too much in one day. But now with swimming on a Monday we can go to Baby Sensory on a Wednesday and fingers crossed that will mean smiles all round!

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Living Arrows 7/52

We’re already up to week seven in the I Heart Snapping Living Arrows project. I’m really behind in visiting other blogs and commenting but I promise to try and get back on top of it this week. I really do like to see everyone else’s photos.

Lots of people comment about Toby’s spiky hair so I thought I’d use this photo which really shows it off! I promise I don’t do anything to it – it just goes like that, as you can see as it’s only spiky on the top and one side.

Living Arrows 7_52

living arrows

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Spreading the blog love

If you are a regular reader of any parenting blogs then you may have noticed that a nominations for a little thing called the MAD Blog Awards have opened this week. These are awards to recognise the best Mum and Dad (hence MAD) bloggers each year. You can nominate a Blog of the Year and then there are lots of other more specific categories such as Best Blog Writer, Best Baby Blog, Best New Blog, Most Entertaining Blog, and plenty of others. Basically, if you have a favourite blog then you will probably be able to find a category that it fits into.

Anyway, I thought now would be a good time to spread the blog love and share a few of my favourites with you.

Redhead Babyled – I’ve mentioned Donna’s blog in a few posts previously. It’s a great mix of interesting posts about her life with her two children, money saving tips, recipes, reviews and lots more. I also love that there is always something new to read on Redhead Babyled.

Mummy Daddy Me – I link with Katie’s blog for The Ordinary Moments every week, but I also love reading her other posts about life with her two girls. Katie’s posts are always really well written, and feature some brilliant photography too!

Life with Munchers – This blog has a mixture of parenting and lifestyle posts. If you are after some home/ DIY help or inspiration then this blog is always worth a look. There are also some great blog design and organisation freebies available to download.

dear beautiful – I just love the look of Lucy’s blog. And it has amazing photography!

mumturnedmom – I like to read Sara’s updates about life as a Scottish expat in the USA so I can live my dreams vicariously through her!

hurrah for gin – Katie’s blog about life with her two boys is a perfect mix of posts that make me laugh out loud to those that are more personal and poignant.

Just a Normal Mummy – Unfailingly funny. (Caution: contains swearing!)

I’m sure there are more that I have forgotten and I may well come back and update this list later. But for now it’ll have to do. If you have any recommendations for blogs I really should be reading then please do leave me a comment.

And before I go…. If you do find yourself on the MADs nomination page and are looking for someone to nominate (particularly in the Best New Blog or Best Baby Blog categories) then I would really appreciate if you considered nominating me and Toby. And if you do, then thank you so much!

MAD Blog Awards

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Learning {The Ordinary Moments #14}

It’s a very Ordinary Moment for this week’s link up with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me.


For at least some of every day, Toby goes onto his play mat. Sometimes it’s while get some jobs done and he is just entertaining himself, or sometimes I sit with him and we play together. I try to change the toys he has out to play with every day or two so he gets plenty of variety and I love to just watch him concentrating and figuring things out. It’s amazing to see him develop, and seemingly so quickly. Every day he works out how to pick something else up, or how to move a bit more, or how to make a different noise. I know some people are sad when they see their babies are growing and won’t be babies for much longer but I just love seeing Toby turn into a little boy. I can’t wait until he can sit himself up, and crawl, and pull himself onto his feet. I am well aware I might regret saying this once I have to chase him around the house, but for now I’m just enjoying every second and can’t wait to see what he does next!

Playing and learning

mummy daddy me

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[The Prompt: Week 5] Love is…

Emily at My Petit Canard has started this new meme just in time for Valentine’s Day. The only rules are…there are no rules! All you need to do is write a post about what love means to you – it can be funny, serious, soppy…the choice is yours. You can read Emily’s original post here. I’m also doing something I don’t usually do, and that is to also use this post for The Prompt. I just haven’t had chance to write a new post this week and seeing as this one fits it seems a shame to miss a week.

This week’s prompt was another quote:

Happiness is anyone and anything at all, that’s loved by you. You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

And here are my thoughts on the matter. What is love to me? (And it is love that brings happiness, above all else). Obviously I love my baby boy and I would do anything for him…even suck bogeys out of his nose several times a day and clean up his gruesome, stinky teething nappies. But that love is something organic, that comes from growing a baby for nine months and then giving birth to that baby who is a part of you. Love for another, who you meet as a adult and know nothing about, who you learn to love as you get to know one another, that’s a different kind of love.

  • Love is a husband who always lets me be in charge of the remote control.
  • Love is taking it turns to get up at 5 am with the teething baby.
  • Love is a husband who doesn’t mind staying at home with the baby so I can go and get my hair cut.
  • Love is a husband who knows when I turn my back to him that’s his cue to give my shoulders a massage.
  • Love is getting text messages every day just to check we’re doing OK.
  • Love is a husband who thinks I’m funny, and pretty, and lovely, and tells me every day.
  • Love is letting Toby grab and pull his beard because he finds it funny.
  • Love is cuddles on the sofa, knowing our little bear is sleeping peacefully upstairs.
  • Love is a husband who lies awake while I chat about our day when really he should be sleeping because he has to be up for work in six hours.
  • Love is a husband who is always there with a hug and a kiss whenever I need one
  • Love is a husband who holds me while I cry, even if he has no idea what I’m crying about.
  • Love is an awesome husband who also turned out to be a fantastic daddy.
  • Love is finding someone who just gets you.
  • Love is being a family.

mr and me

I tag –






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Operation shift the baby weight – three month update

Malteaser bunny

Another monthly update on my weight loss progress. After a fantastic start to the month when I did Exante Diet for a week and lost 6lbs things haven’t been going particularly well on the healthy eating and weight loss front. I know there aren’t any excuses but this miserable weather has really not been helping matters. I’m still planning our meals every week which is brilliant. It saves me having to think what to cook every night, and it has helped reduce our food shopping bills this month. However, I have had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Malteaser Bunnies and have just been eating far too much chocolate. I need to refocus and get back on track next month. I was doing so well before Christmas, it would be stupid to let that go to waste now. So the plan for the next month – get back to tracking calories on My Fitness Pal and cut down on the chocolate!

So time for the stats: (Figures in brackets are my original starting weights and measurements):

Weight: 12st 11lb (13st 8lb) – lost 11lb

Waist: 33.5 inches (37 inches) – lost 3.5 inches

Hips: 43 inches (45.5 inches) – lost 2.5 inches

Bust: 40 inches (42 inches) – lost 2 inch

I’m not overly pleased with this but things are still moving in the right direction. So, to next month. Onwards and upwards!

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