Taking the kids swimming… And conquering my own fears!

Originally written as a blog post for AquaTots:


I grew up in a single parent household with my mum and my brother; she cannot swim, and was scared to take me and my brother in case anything happened to us, as she did not feel confident in the water.

I had swimming lessons for a term in Year 4, but most of my class could not swim, so I didn’t actually learn anything then! Fast forward a few years to starting secondary school; we had weekly swimming lessons in Years 7 and 8, and in the first lesson, we were pretty much told to jump in the pool and get to the other side – as a non-swimmer, this was my idea of hell! I did it, but it really knocked my confidence. By the end of the first term, I could swim front and back, and jump in off the diving board, as we had to do, but I never enjoyed swimming due to the constant fear, and I HATED putting my head under the water

Even as an adult, this has stuck with me, and I have never put my head under the water since school, just paddled, but I was also adamant that my kids would not grow up with the same fear I had. When I watched my husband and brother-in-law on family holidays jump in, dive and splash around, I knew that’s what I wanted for my kids, not the absolute fear that me, my brother and my mum all share (I will say that I absolutely do not blame my mum! She is terrified of the water still, and I do understand why!)

I was adamant that my own kids would not share my fears, so we started swimming lessons when the eldest was just two weeks old, and at six months we switched to AquaTots as their system was much more progressive. My husband swam with Thomas each week, and I watched both of them enjoy the experience and learn so much together.

When Thomas was 16 months old, along came Katherine, and we wanted her to have a similar experience, so she enrolled in AquaTots at three months old. This time, Paul was insistent that I swim with her, so that I could experience the same bonding experience that he did with Thomas. I was apprehensive, but wanted to give it a go!

From the start, you are introduced to exercises gradually, and build on previous lessons and experiences. Even in Duckling course, you are taught how to release your child safely under the water, and there is absolutely no pressure to go underwater if you do not want to, but if my three-month-old can be submerged independently, then why can’t I?! So I finally bit the bullet and went under with her… And I can honestly say that it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared!

I have now gained the confidence to push off the wall underwater with Katherine and push her towards Sam, and regularly go under with her for the turning exercises. I am looking forward to learning even more skills with my daughter, and thanks to AquaTots for being the push to increase my confidence!^7F06220BEC16F15C695480B9D1DE69CC7AFA28EC368912B828^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr


MacMillan Cancer Support – World’s Biggest Coffee Morning


Friday 29th September 2017 is MacMillan’s Cancer Support World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, so I will be baking a lot of cakes this week to support this fantastic cause.

I have two reasons for this:
Firstly, I like baking, and any excuse is fine by me.
Secondly, and to me, more importantly, this is a cause close to my heart. I have recently lost a member of my close family to cancer and have other friends and family who are still battling or have been fortunate enough to win their fight.

Everyone knows someone who is or has been affected by this deadly disease. 1 in 3 of us will suffer during our lifetime, and as the population ages that number will increase. Consider your own immediate family and work out the odds: for me, this means that at least one out of me, my husband and my two children will contract cancer. If we are extremely lucky, none of us will, but that just means that another family somewhere will get more than their fair share to deal with.

There are more than 100 different types of cancer, so diagnosis, treatment and prevention is an uphill struggle. Whereas all cancers are basically caused by body cells dividing indiscriminately, and it is at heart a genetic disease, environmental factors, such as lifestyle choices, can make a huge impact on certain types of cancer. The more scientists find out about the causes of cancer, the more questions it raises.

MacMillan Cancer Support provide medical, emotional, practical and financial support, as well as campaigning for better cancer care. And because cancer affects more than just those facing it, they offer support for friends and family too. If you want to find out more about how you can participate, you can do so here: https://coffee.macmillan.org.uk/

You can get involved as much or as little as you want to: from hosting your own coffee morning for friends, colleagues or family, to making or buying cakes to take along to an event; donating the spare change in the bottom of your bag (everyone has some!) to volunteering on a regular basis. Everyone really can do something, and for me, that’s baking. Please do what you can do.

[Photo is of a gingerbread AT-AT made at Christmas. It’s designed to have fallen like that, honest!]

Fallen atats

Introducing Team Mills!

I have been considering setting up a blog for a while now, and finally bitten the bullet, so here it is. While I don’t consider us as a family as particularly fascinating, we do have some interests and hobbies that some might consider unusual, and this is our opportunity to share them with you!

We are a family of four; well, four humans at least, plus a dog, cat (sometimes two) and a dalek (more about her in a later post) and our main interests are board games, Doctor Who, and I personally love reusable nappies and baking. An odd combination, I know! We like pretty much anything geeky, to be honest, and we have started the kids young in the ways of the force.

Mr Mills works in IT; I still don’t know exactly what he does after 9 years together, but he can fix my laptop if it goes wonky, so that’s all I need to know! I’m an ex-teacher, now childminder, and I genuinely love working with kids. Bear is a typical toddler who doesn’t stop talking… EVER and Hoglet is a diva with a temper and a smile that will melt your heart.

We will use this as a platform to share our love of sci-fi, reviews of board games, cloth nappies and toys, pictures of baked goods and ramblings about our life in general

Happy reading!

[Photo credit: Helter Skelter Photography]