Grace House, children’s crafts

If you read my blog on the childrens First aid workshops you will have seen I mentioned Sarah.

Well who is Sarah, Sarah Jones is a mum of 4 children and meet her again via Bizmums. On first meeting she talked about her bespoke art work, then another meeting on setting up her new venture, and how she was trusted with a return of money from an event, to reinvest it back into a dream they had.

Well Sarah really did do well in this reinvestment and in Aug this year Sarah has set up her own studio and venue called Grace House, based in Stafford. The idea is to be able to provide a events venue, workshop and event all at a affordable cost.

In the summer holidays to were invited to an ‘wing it wednesday’ children’s workshop. so off I popped with my own two and friends.

The session lasted 2hours and was all aimed around a wing themed craft, today we were making 3d wooden butterflies. The children and I worked with each other to create their own butterfly, Sarah provided all the materials, snack and hot drink for us adults.

Sarah was on hand the whole time to help, and dried our pieces to ensure no mark on way home in car etc. Sarah also gave great tip from her own artist background, like standing to work as helps you flow.

Later in the holidays, I teamed up with Heather and Sarah to provide venue for our first aid course and Sarah again offered us a craft work shop after. Today they created winged canvas prints.

Again Sarah was exceptional in providing all the children with great tips (many will use at home too), everything was provided for and this time had lush butterfly biscuits and caterpillar cakes as snack as the children creations were drying.

Outside Sarah has some giant hand chalked angel selfie wings which the children loved using as well as a huge chalk board for great creativeness.

These craft sessions vary in prices and times, but I can say well worth it and the bonding you gain extra with your children is priceless, esp if you are like some parents and limited creative things at home, this is a places to allow your children creativity out.

Sarah has a range of events on offer now from children’s workshops in school holidays and adults sessions on a Thursday evening, highly recommend you popping by. As well as finding out about her children’s party offers, great value for money.

More information on Grace house can be found at



Sarah has also offered her venue to Stafford Bizmums monthly meeting, (1st Monday the month 10-11.30). where like minded mums in business can network and children can play. More can be found out here.


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Children’s First aid workshops

Children’s Workshop

During the school holiday I am always looking for extra and different activities to provide for the school children.

My daughter attends a local brownies unit and while looking through her badges book I notices First Aid, well as a childminder I have always been fully trained in pediatric First Aid.

A few months earlier I met Heather Bird via Bizmums who set up her own training company around first aid, so I put her to the challenge. Could she create a children’s training around first aid also meeting the criteria and assess Ava-May ability for her Brownies badge….as well as teaching the other children life saving skills….

I took my own two children and three I child-minded as well as friends children. The aim was to teach seven children from 5years to 11. Well that 7 went to 15, including children of Sarahs and her friends children. Sarah also another Bizmum member allowed us to take over her studio and what a great venue that was (more in another blog about Sarah).

Well I can say Heather did not fail on this challenge…. WOW… not only did Heather meet criteria for the first aid but also the advance badge. Heather had never trained children but with teaching backgrounds and a mum herself, she did an amazing job.

The children covered areas like:

*who and how to ring for help, what they many be asked to know

*what to look for is find a casualty

*what to do if someone get a cut or embedded item

*how to put someone in recovery position

*how to dress wounds and head injuries

Heather kept the 2 hours session, fun and lively, as well as fun tests to check their understanding and also allowed the children to engage in sharing their own experiences and children with asthma were able to help teach the others how to help them and know different signs and symptoms. Meaning the session was greatly children lead and so informative.

The children I took to get the Brownies First Aid badge and others who wanted to know more about CPR were also trained in this, meaning the Brownies will also now get the First Aid advance badge. A Great pleasure to them.

“I loved wrapping my friends up in bandages” Charlotte, age 8.

“I loved the CPR and didn’t have to give mouth to mouth to a dummy but knew could still help someone”, Jack aged 11.

This workshop was great fun and even refreshed my own knowledge, I would highly recommend anyone to do some first aid training for them selves and their children, even combing the two and develop them bonds further with your child.

From the Success of this test run workshop Heather is now running these and if your child attends Brownies, Guides, Scouts or Cubs and needs First Aid certified trained teacher for these badges, please let Heather know.

For more information on Heather Children’s and other First aid and Health and Safety courses, please visit.




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What childcare options are out there!?


Here’s a little low down on childcare options available, when thinking and looking for childcare.


An individual person who is responsible for your child’s well being, safety, and supervision. Levels of experience and education will vary. A nanny typically watches your child in your home. No degree, license or experience is required in order to become a Nanny. However some do have training and their own insurance. They would be employed to you so your responsible for paying them, pensions and other expenses related.

Au pair

An Au pair is very similar to a Nanny however Au Pairs come from a foreign country and typically reside in your home. These can be live in or live out and can do further jobs to help you e.g. House work etc. These be worked out between yourselves and angin like a nanny your responsible for paying wages etc.


Childminder are childcare run typically by one individual in their own home. They willoften offer care to several different families with children in different age groups. Follow EYFS and registered with Ofsted, some are trained in childcare some not. However guided now to have some for childcare training and sometimes does alongside running their childminding. These can cater for children birth to up to 12, each minder runs different hours and day and often based around their own family needs. Government help via childcare element of tax credits available to those eligible

Day nurseries

Nurseries usually provide full time care for children from birth to five years. Some may not include infant care and others may include after school programs. These again government by Osfted and work to the EYFS. Quiet often open most weeks of the years and often closed bank holidays. Government help via childcare element of tax credits available to those eligible.


preschools often take children from age 3 to 5years. They are registered with Ofsted and follow the EYFS too. Sometimes ran school times and terms some can be seperate or linked to school or day nursery. (Check out my nursery vers preschool blog too)


Family members can also be another great option for childcare. especially if you live close and are able to help. There not guidelines for these providing help and no fiancial support to parents, although you do not have childcare fees.


*When thinking and looking at childcare options do your research, ask around.

*Know your needs and wishes and your child’s individual personality and needs.

*If looking at registered providers looks at the ofsted reports but also follow your gut feelings and sometimes ofsted inspections only see and get feeling of what’s happening there and then and their judgement.

*See what fiancial help you can get from tax credits, funded places. More found here, website can be temperamental.

*when visiting providers try go during the day often will allow this but have seen others who do not. This will give you a good feeling p, see how they run and other children within the setting.

*Ask questions, they only way you will find out the information you want, not just been told what they want you to know.

*when using paid for childcare know there fee payment plans and dates, so you prepared and works alongside you fiances.


Nursery vers preschool?!


As a childminder and previous working in day nurseries, I often get asked what’s difference between nursery and a preschool?! Should my child be in pre school now they are 3?! Here is my views.

Honestly there is no great difference… Childminders, nurseries and preschool and reception classes, all work from the same frame work the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) this is a statutory framework setting the “standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.”

More about that here

Some nurseries have pre school within them some call the room or class where children ages 3-5yrs the “preschool”. These will often provide the 3year funding for families and additional childcare topped up around it. These can provide care on full day basis e.g. 7.30am til 6pm most weeks of the year.

Some school have “preschools” attached, some of these may only be open school term and school hours. Some like one attached to my children’s school. Use the other school facilities e.g. Dinning hall. Some do not. Some of these school based preschools often help provide further links into the school with he aim to the children attending that school. Some may have qualifies early years teachers and be able to provide a more “education” based learning.

Some preschools are not attached to nurseries or schools, maybe ran from a village hall, and like some attached to schools offer sessions based around school terms and hours.

Childminders are able to offer this 3 year old funding and like nurseries childcare are able to be there to what suits the families and the childminder. These are home based providers, smaller ratios and many will often link with local schools for school runs etc.

However there is no great difference, as mentioned at the start each setting follow the same framework, each settling as child approached 5 all work to “school readiness” Which is referred to under the EYFS as “School readiness is vaguely described in the foundation stage as “Children reaching a good level of development in the prime areas and literacy and mathematics”.

If your child is happy and thriving within the childcare choice you have made, why change?!

Ok yes you may need to change if your current provider does not offer the funding and you wish to acces it, or you can use funded place along side your current provides ion for childcare.

Each setting has it own qualities, pros and cons. How ever ulimitly there is not great difference, it is your choice and your child’s happiness.

There is no different a in frameworks the providers works to until after the child turns 5, (end of the EYFS) then it’s your choice to join them into mainstream educational system or even private or home school your child.

Go with your gut feelings over these issues, do not just follow what other families say and do. You have to find the right fit for you child and your own situation with work etc.

Award Nominations, personal and Business

award nominations


As many of my followers will know I am a member of Bizmums. Each year they hold annual conference and awards and this year I have been nominated within four awards categories, Exceptional service, health and Beauty award, Inspirational mum and Online mum of the year.
I own and run my Businesses in Stone, Staffordshire. With my main business Stephs Childminding services has had a great impact on families accessing her care. For this business she has been placed into two categories, Exceptional service and Online mum of the year.
i set up as a childminding in 2014 due to my own personal situation, where I was needing to find flexible childcare. Since then the demand has grown, due to the way I offer childcare for families who are able to follow their own career passions, knowing that they do not need to worry about shift patterns, needing weekend childcare or needing late finishing.
Here part of the nominations view from Exceptional service. “Her testimonials from parents describe her ethos, providing top quality childcare from very early mornings, school runs, late evenings, overnight and taking the children to ex curriculum activities. No job is too small for Stephanie, if parents call at the last minute she will help . All this whilst following Ofsed, EYFS standards. The way Stephanie has tailored her service, she has allowed parents to go to work in their dreamed profession, offering shift workers flexibility with no hidden costs. Families only pay for the childcare used, which is a great help to them working, enjoy life and securely financing their childcare bills. Stephanie has a strong community spirit and engages in groups and despairs when child facilities close. She came up with the initiative with a friend ‘Stone Parent & Child Group’. It lists all the toddler groups, classes etc around Stone, when they run and all the information needed.”
“I set up knowing I needed childcare to fit around me and not access part time on a full time childcare bill. The demand amazed me I thought only 1 or 2 families would need flexibility but how I was very wrong. I now have 4 regular families and more who access though out the School holidays. The need for flexible childcare is increasing as very few families work a traditional 9-5 job of even close to their work. The way I run my service is totally tailored to each from hours, days and even when and how they can pay, I have worked within childcare for over 10 years and knew it needed to change.” From Steph.
“I am astonished at the nominations, whom I have yet to discover to thank them. I do my business as a passion and never expect to be nominated again for one never mind to be placed within four categories. When I read the statements it brought me to tears as I see myself totally different and just helping out others.”

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Statement from Online mum of the Year nomination “” I love Steph’s posts, such an inspirational to look at on her Facebook page and Instagram. She inspires and helps me with my content, and she doesn’t do that directly! Steph shows me how to have a typical day, and even shows her ups and downs, and how to overcome things. With her childminding posts, are helpful, and she gives me ideas what to do with my own children. Her posts are always different content, and she helps me with a’pick me up’ when in need of one. ”

Winners will be announced on Sunday, October 8th, 2017, at the annual BizMums Conference & Awards at the Manor House in Alsager, Cheshire. The day will bring together 100’s of mums in business from across the region to network, learn and celebrate each other’s achievements of the past 12 months

Find The BizMums Awards Online:


Bizfund :D


I am a member of Bizmums, which is a social enterprise set out to support females in business to network with their children.

I have been a member for around 4years, I attend to some local meet ups including Stone and Cannock. I have found these meetings and much membership a great way to build relationships, make friends and gain support from further like minded ladies.

You hpmay have seen past blogs about my finalised for awards via Bizmums so they are not just about networking groups.

Each year they allow members to apply for some funding, which can be used to develop, grow and improve your business.

Well earlier this year I applied and found out last week I have been granted part for my application. I am feeling so so grateful.

I applied for funding towards 5 course that I want to take to further help and support the children within my childcare. I was granted the funding for behaviour management within out of school children and Confidance in personal, social and emotional development.

I am so thrilled that I will soon be doing these courses, they are going to have a profound affect in children as 1: many access me around school times and the other I have strong believe that children can not learn and grow without confidence within themselves and their own abilities.

I will be booking myself on to the other courses as soon as possible as I strive to improve the chafe and education I am providing to the children within my care.

This funding is going to release finances within the business which will go back into further developing the outdoor area and for more courses to be booked.

So excited to get new things going this year…

If you want to know more about bizmums please follow this link.





Single mum and split access Journey, part 2.

From that night life totally changed….

I was unable to drive after the verdict, so my dad took the wheel. We drove to collect the children from nursery and school club… My head was all over.

How would they cope? How do I tell them? Will they resent me? How can I still provide home for them?

That week I was leaving my full time secure job to start my own business with only 1 part time paying place taken. Was the jump all too soon….

How would I financially provide for them, keep the house going and food to eat… At that point I was relying only on my wages and tax credits, which would soon change as no longer employed…. I spent the 30mins drive crying…panicking but at same time trying to calm enought to collect them and look as nothing had happened..but how wrong was I….

I walked into the nursery and as employer there my colleagues ask and the water works were back out… They were all in shock and too could not understand.

The children were excited as we were having a grandparent weekend. If is was not for my mam and dads support that weekend I’m not sure how I would cope.

My anxiety was sky high, all I felt I wanted to do was escape with the children and return back to the North East with my family. That may never happen now.

My mam helped me to explain to them what was going to happen from the following week. Was was a bit too young to really understand, however Ava-May was 4 had a lot of questions… Why do we have to? Can we come back here to sleep? Where will be be? Will I still be here? Many I could not answer.

I still had things to sort with their dad but that had to wait as I needed that weekend with the family to focus on quality time with them.

The following week emails were back and forward with my ex to sort finer details, when handover will be, times, birthdays, Christmas etc. all this was not decided within the order and left for us to control… Which was great but still now 4years on some things can still be a real struggle.

The last thing in remember from court was “the children are resilient, I see no reason why this will not work or have adverse effects on them…” Oh how I now wish that they could actually see the impacts of this on the children especially oldest.

The first few months was vile… Especially now I was gaining increasing business and services the school my two attended.

My ex had taken the court order into the school and made sure that all teaching staff knew who they children were with….this made me feel sick as 1 the school denied they were meeting him even tho I knew about it, 2nd my ex also felt I was not needed to be at the meeting… I was horrified, there was for no reason that I was not allowed to see the children during their time with there Dad.

Joint parenting which out discussions jointly, was not joint parenting in my eyes.

I remember one night their Granddad wanted me to collect Avamay from her class door and bring her to me (she asked for this in the morning), we agreed as felt better for avamay to be able to have a little time with me before going… I mentioned this to teacher in morning, upon collection Ava was sent out to me and when ready we went to leave… Oh how simple it sounded until a teacher came after me and asked where I was taken her. I discussed plan with teacher who didn’t get the message in morning.

Oh how I was stopped…. I was told I was not allowed to take my own daughter from top gate to the car park less than 2minute walk along side of school. Avamay was taken off me, crying asking for me. She was taken back into the school. I left the playground (upset too) I saw the grandad who was then concerned where she was due to being planned between us I the morning, he was not happy either.all I remember then was my anxitety going into over drive I was shaking a friend supported me while the issues was sorted with the teachers… To my luck my son was given me cuddles too… Avamay was brough out and gave me cuddles.. I helped them both to car all still a bit upset…

This court order was stupid…there was no reasons as to why I could not see the children. All the order stipulated was who the children reside with upon which week. However due to school and ex had further things must been discussed without my knowledge. I felt like life was crash around me….was I really such a bad mum…that I couldn’t see them..t

Many a night I would collected minding children and have my two running to me too, only to have to say to them they need to go with dad or alternate collector. It was and still sometimes really hard. To have to tell your own child they can not come home with you.

I remember a few occasions Ava-May screaming to come home with me, clinging and refusing to go…. Having to get friends to help me out… Still makes me feel sick to this day having to tell them they can’t and have to go…what had I done so wrong that the courts felt this was right for them…

After a few months,  I was in a constant battle with myself. My childminding was really taken off… I was in demand. But was I doing the right thing daily by working this way, servicing the school and nursery where my children attended… Should I quiet working as a childminder, so I would not see the children when was their week with there dad. Should I stop servicing the school. Would I be better going back to employed work and not see them as much, not be able to take and collect the children from school when was my week. After talking with my parents going back into full time work was not a option, I have less time woth Ava-May and Ryin due to the court order never mind not being able to be there for them when I needed to be.

After a few more discussion with their Dad, it was agreed that if the children wanted to, they could meet me at school and go in and out with me…. This was a good send as just a simple fast that Ava-May wanted, which then impacted her to be more settled with the transactions. This also meant that I could carry out my work a lot easier and not feel so guilty as to why other children could spend time with me but my own children couldn’t.

Three year on and we still sometimes do struggle, my ex and I sometimes don’t agree on things (behaviour management etc) or resolving changes, weekend swaps etc seem to be long winded…

However, we are slowly getting there. There will still be a lot of hurdles I expect to overcome… when these things happen.

The main thing I try to keep open is methods of communication, due to a week here and week there access. This is key to making things easier.

I will say it’s not easy at all. But little changes have helped e.g. Listening to what the children want, even at young age.

Lessons I have learnt and still learning.

We may never be one the same page regarding the children. However trying to be on the makes easier.

Keet communication open within the best method. For us emails and verbal chats when needed.

Behaviour will/may become challenging from the children. But stay consistent. Try talk and do same positive reinforcements with both houses, same methods. Setting same expectations within two houses. Also keep similar routines, as this can have impact on behaviour.

Reinforce that children are still loved by each parent, just the parents needed to live apart. Be as truthful and age appropriate over the situation.

I have found as I’m along getting the children help out around house helps me a lot. Little chores for them e.g. Putting their clothes away, tidying their room etc.

Split parenting is hard…I will not lie it’s really hard, I think harder as was court decision. It takes work and persistence…