Inspired by the best!

It’s not often I write a post about Libby and her recent developments but this weekend she’s had a bit of an achievement that came at just the right time! 

Last week, I was lucky enough to interview double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington. We chatted about how important swimming is for children and what a sense of achievement it is for them when they manage to swim alone. Well needless to say at just under 16 months old, Libby isn’t swimming on her own yet, but I think Rebecca’s influence must have rubbed off on Libby because her swimming came on in leaps and bounds yesterday. 

We have always tried to take Libby swimming every weekend. My husband and I are both swimmers and in addition to the safety factor, family days out will be a lot easier if Libby grows up enjoying it too. Yesterday my husband was at work so it was just me and Libby who went to the pool for a swim. We did our usual playing around, blowing bubbles and she did lots of jumps off the side and spent plenty of time being nosy watching all the other children. This time though, she paid more attention than usual to the long, tube-shaped woggle-floats, also known as swimming noodles. 

I have always given these to Libby to play with and a few times I’ve tried to get her to hold onto one or lie on it but she’s never got the hang of it. However, yesterday was different. I looped it across her chest and under her arm pits so that she was lying across it and the ends stuck up in the air and… off she went! 

The float now  supports her well enough for her to be able to swim along on her own. She has always kicked her legs and done some doggy paddle movements with her arms but I have to hold onto her to stop her sinking. Now though, just lying on the woggle is enough to keep her afloat and she can paddle off and do her own thing (with me next to her of course). She does fall off it and end up sinking occasionally but this doesn’t bother her at all. She has also worked out that if she wants a rest she can just put her legs down into a standing position and lean on the float. 

Libby was so proud of herself for swimming along without my help. Next step, totally independent swimming! 

It’s tiring work this swimming lark, no energy left for anything more than an apple and a rest! 


An interview with Rebecca Adlington!

Yesterday, I received an amazing email asking if I would like to interview Rebecca Adlington for my blog. Yes, THE Rebecca Adlington! I nearly fell off my chair! Miraculously, it wasn’t a wind up and this lunch time we had a chat and I was lucky enough to be able to ask her a few questions. Here are the results! 

Q1. Recent research has shown that swimming has a great effect on children’s confidence. What is it about swimming above other sports that gives children such a confidence boost?

You start swimming at a young age and initially you’re supported by parents so it’s a real achievement to be able to swim on your own. it gives you a great feeling of independence and pride. Lots of people can swim so children want to learn to seem grown up like their friends and parents. There isn’t that milestone in other sports such as running, everyone can run from a really early age but it’s a huge step to be able to swim alone and a really proud moment. 

Q2. What advice would you give to children who don’t want to learn to swim because they’re frightened of the water? 

It takes time. Lots of people are scared and it’s important to take small baby steps, even just sitting with your feet in the water is a good start. it helps for parents to take their children swimming on their own as well as their lessons. It helped me to see my two older sisters in the water because they weren’t scared. For a child to see that their parents aren’t scared can have the same effect. 

Q3. I have a 15 month old daughter and we take her swimming every week but we haven’t taken her to lessons yet. What age do you think children should start swimming lessons? 

Most lessons start at around age 3. Younger than that it’s all around water confidence. Swimming lessons for very young children are great for building confidence if parents don’t feel able to do this themselves but the children won’t be swimming independently at that age. If children start going swimming young, they will be more confident in the water by the time they get to age 3 and then lessons won’t be such a big scary step. 

Q4. 81% of children have said that they wish they could go swimming more often. What could be done to enable parents to get their children in the pool more often? 

There are great products available these days it’s such an improvement from the old brick that you had to fetch from the bottom of the pool when I was learning to swim. If parents take toys swimming with them, kids think they’re playing a game when they go to the bottom of the pool to pick up a fish but it’s actually building their confidence. It makes if fun for kids and it is a fun family time that everyone can enjoy. 

Q5. When you retired from swimming, you said that your ambition was that every child in Britain would be able to swim 25 metres by the time they left school. You’ve also said that you think it should be compulsory for all children to learn to swim. What scheme would ensure that all children were taught to swim? 

I’ve got my own learn to swim programme that starts at age 3 so that’s my way of helping with this. I also think that parents should take children swimming more and more should be done in schools. It’s not going to happen overnight. 

Q6. The recent research has shown that many children’s dream swimming lesson would be to swim with dolphins. We’ve already taken my daughter swimming in a lake, river and the sea in safe places. There has been a lot of controversy this summer about open water swimming following several deaths during the hot weather. What are your thoughts on open water and wild swimming? 

You can never control the environment. There should be signs up where it is dangerous and there are strong currents rather than assuming people know not to go in. Swimming outside is a beautiful thing and I wouldn’t discourage it but you’ve got to be safe in the right environment. I personally don’t like the sea because I don’t know what’s under there so it scares me. I like watching my good friend Keri-Anne Payne racing in open water though.

Q7. Many people give up competitive swimming in their teens when they can’t fit all the training in around their other interests. I personally felt a bit of a void without swimming and years later got into triathlon and water polo. Do you think more could be done to encourage people to move to a different sport rather than giving up completely? 

Yes, there’s so much available for both disability and non-disability. It’s all about finding the right sport. Parents can research online, speak to people and let children try something new. 

Q8. Do you still swim now that you’ve retired from competitive swimming and have you taken up any other sports? 

I still swim but I’m not training in the same way, just swimming as a member of the public. I also love going to the gym, I’ve played tennis over the summer and I enjoy doing classes at the gym. 

Q9. As someone who knows how much parents give up for their children to carry out competitive swim training, would you want your children to be competitive swimmers? 

I’d always teach them to swim. I’d support them if they want to be competitive but I’d let them choose what they want to do. 

Q10. Competitive swimming is quite an expensive sport, how can it be made more accessible for children from less well off families? 

I don’t agree that it’s that expensive. In comparison to other sports such as cycling where you need a £300 bike it’s not expensive just to buy a swimming costume. You can find different price levels, lots of places do free kids swims. You can compare the choice between going to McDonalds once a week or going swimming, it’s about what’s important to you and your child. 

Closing in on my dream home… but how will I keep it clean?!

For the last couple of years, we’ve been in the unenviable position of paying two mortgages because we still had my husband’s flat and had no tenants in it. We’ve recently sold the flat subject to contract and hopefully in the not too distant future, we will finally be able to put a bit of money into doing up the house. 

I love where we live, it’s a great location with lovely neighbours but I’ve always wanted to do something a bit more exciting with my garden. There is a big area out the back that I would love to deck and the natural progression would be to have some nice big patio doors opening out onto the decking. I particularly like the bi folding patio doors but I’m aware that they do take some cleaning. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of great cleaning tips both for the glass and the frames in preparation for starting our home improvements. As it will be a while until we will get our fabulous patio, I thought I’d share the tips on here. Hopefully someone will get some use out of them and they’ll be here ready for me when I need them. 

1. Baby wipes! 

I know, I’m such a typical mum but they really do clean EVERYTHING! My mum had a stain in her carpet that an industrial carpet cleaner wouldn’t remove but a few baby wipes and a bit of elbow grease soon solved that. Unsurprisingly then that even the toughest grime on window and patio door frames can be easily wiped clean with a few baby wipes. I wouldn’t use them on the glass because they’re a bit smeary but for the frames, they are a dream. 

2. Steam cleaner

We bought a steam cleaner a few years ago, mainly to do the carpet and to strip the wallpaper. It has turned out to be great for cleaning many other things such as tiles, the hob and of course panes of glass. It will be ideal for cleaning patio doors and relatively quick too. 

3. Coca cola

Sometimes, patio doors or their frames can end up with a stubborn stain on them that very little will shift. Interestingly though, there is very little that coca cola won’t dissolve. Dab some onto the stubborn stain with a sponge and try to leave it there. This can be somewhat difficult with an upright surface like a patio door, but it is worth spending a bit of time to reapply it if necessary because if you can keep it there, the stains will undoubtedly disappear. I have also used this to de-ice my car and clean away rust and burnt bits from the bottom of a saucepan. I suspect this will become particularly relevant when Libby wants to help me with the cooking. She’s already working out how things in the house work, as demonstrated with the phone! 

This post was sponsored, but views, opinions, phone addicted children and grand home improvement ideas are all my own! 

Making friends and finding new blogs to read

I’ve been chatting with some friends recently who have fabulous blogs that are relatively new. What we all have in common is that it’s difficult to find new blogs to follow that really suit our interests. It’s equally difficult to build new followers who have a genuine interest in our posts. That’s why I’ve decided to see if anyone is interested in a bit of a no-rules linky to allow all of us newbies to hold hands and support each other. 

I’d love it if you could leave a link to your blog and pop along to visit a couple of others. If you like what you see, say hi and give them a follow, we’re all in it together after all! You don’t have to follow me to take part but if you’d like to I’d be delighted! 



Why I’m not a beauty blogger

There are a myriad of reasons why I’m not a beauty blogger. I don’t have time for a skincare routine. I work full time, look after Libby full time and attempt to fit in some fitness. Some mornings I don’t get time to brush my teeth, nevermind brushing my hair and showering. Make-up is something that I might wear once a month on the rare occasions that I leave the house without my wellies. 

Sadly though, these aren’t the main reasons why I couldn’t be a beauty blogger. My main problem with beauty products is based around ethics. I have a huge problem with putting things onto my skin that are unnatural and full of chemicals. I have even more of a problem with skincare products being tested on animals. I have no idea how anybody can justify harming an animal for the sake of looking a bit nicer or having nicer feeling skin. As a one off though, I have decided to review some beauty products. The only reason I have agreed to do this is because the review is for EllaPure

EllaPure are a genuinely ethical skincare company. All of the ingredients in their products are organically sourced and scented only with natural juices and essential oils. Perhaps more importantly to me, the company are strongly against animal testing. They never have and never will test their products on animals. 

I was lucky enough to be sent a fabulous Essential Skincare set to try out. 

The set contains moisturiser, pure cream cleanser, eye bright gel, toner and facial scrub. I have already admitted that I’m not the most natural person to try out beauty products. In fact, I only usually use cleanser and moisturiser. Even these I use rarely. I moisturise when my skin starts to itch or peel because it’s so dry. I cleanse when I’ve remembered to leave cleanser in the shower, otherwise I’m ashamed to say I just wash my face with shower gel. 

This has all changed since receiving these products last week. They are so luxurious to use that I make a point of doing so at least once a day, sometimes even twice. I rather sheepishly had to ask my mum what eye bright gel was for. Having used it though, it became fairly obvious. It reduced the bags under my eyes almost immediately and they felt fabulous. 

Having quizzed my mum on what to do with the eye gel, I casually dropped into conversation with my sister that I wasn’t sure what to do with toner. Apparently you use it after cleansing to close your pores, get the remaining make-up off your skin and prepare it for moisturising. The smell of this toner is absolutely beautiful. It’s made with rosewater and brings back memories of a smell I remember from childhood and associate with my Gran, I’m not sure exactly why. 

The cleanser and facial scrub are both incredibly gentle on the skin and don’t dry it out at all. The moisturiser is perfect for me, it’s not too heavy but it is a deep enough moisturiser to make even my horribly neglected skin feel soft and lovely. 

The true test of a blogger review is whether you would spend your own money on the products you have been sent. I undoubtedly would, and will. I’d definitely invest in their hair care products and if I have another baby, I will be desperately trying to persuade my family to buy me the organic baby bag. 

I must also just give EllaPure a nod in the direction of the consultancy jobs they offer. I am always a huge advocate for jobs that people can do from home and being a consultant for such an ethical company must be a fabulous thing to do.