nursery - worth the cost
Nursery – Worth the cost?

Whilst pregnant with Munchkin, Natalie and me made the decision to tour the local nurseries and decided nursery care is for us. We both wanted to continue working but wanted to give Munchkin the best start in life. Nursery can cost a pretty penny, but is it worth that cost?

Even before Munchkin was born

We discussed, toured the local nursery options and decided nursery was for us months before Munchkin was born. We want to give him the best start and the best balance of different inputs to his education and development.

We knew we would have to return to work after maximizing and stretching out our funding benefit by using shared parental leave. See our post on that here. With Mummy, being a teacher and having the summer off, she could hand her leave to me to start in September and keep the government payments up to 12 months of age. One year old still felt young to take to nursery, but he settled in fast and immediately loved each day.

A tiny poppet when he started nursery


We decided nursery, albeit expensive, nursery gave Munchkin the best balance. Both my and Natalie’s parents each wanted a day with Munchkin so he would have 2.75 days at nursery a week. This would give four different inputs, with nursery, us as parents and both sets of Grandparents which I believe gave him the best benefit with different.

Cost and Support

Parents with low income, or claiming certain benefits can get help with childcare from 2 years old. For working parents, the government knocks tax off the cost deducting 20%. That said, our 2.75 days would vary month to month, depending on the number of weeks and holidays. However, this would range from £350 to £550 (£280 to £440 using tax free childcare) making some months tight at times.

From 3 years old, working parents get up to 30 hours free childcare in term time. It was a long time coming but we finally made it.

Want the best child product for your home? See our favourite product review ➡️

The Benefit

Each day he is at nursery he comes back full of energy with new stories to tell, ideas and games to play. They nurture and develop his love to learn letters and numbers, read and sing, give him time to pursue his own enjoyments whilst giving him new opportunities and teaching new skills. He comes back and talk about the friends he’s made and who he plays with each day.

Nursery document his development and update us at the end of the day, and with development reviews on Tapestry, so we feel very much in the loop. They hold events to meet parents too, so local parents can say more than just the ‘Hey, how are you’ in the mornings.

I am thankful to them for the amazing little man Munchkin has become. It’s expensive but I think when you take in the benefits to their development, its worth every penny.

What are your thoughts on Nursery childcare?

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

Subscribe for updates

Continue reading

Ways for Dads to bond with a Newborn

From the moment you enter the maternity ward, your world flips upside down. You used to be the decider of your sleep schedule and knew roughly what time of day it was by how you felt. Suddenly, as you appear from that sauna hot room of first cries, sweat and tears, everything has changed. Your now a Dad and so here’s some tips to help bond with that little ball of cuteness.

Rewind! Bonding starts with the bump

I got a little ahead of myself there. Bonding actually starts way before you even think about packing your hospital bag. From six months of ‘cooking’ inside Mummy’s belly, your little one can begin to learn. I’ll admit its weird at first, but then this is the time to introduce yourself, so they know who you are from day one. Oh and so they are used to your terrible singing voice from the onset!

Hello, little one

From day one there are many things you can do to build your bond, many of which are super simple.

Be present

No little one is going to bond with someone who isn’t there. Make sure you’re at home and engaged with the new arrival. Cancel some pub trips, sport or xbox time, get on the sofa, and have a snuggle. Share the feeds, where possible and get up during the night, and share the feeds and nappy changes. Sit by the bath and help at bath time. Read a book at bedtime. Just be there.

Do things babies enjoy

It may seem obvious. But engage with the new baby by doing the things babies enjoy. Pull faces, smile, sing, rock, snuggle, and be the general goof you know you are. You’ll be rewarded by looks of joy, later smiles and then giggles.

Display affection with kisses and cuddles and have some skin to skin time. It works just as well for Dad just as much as Mum.

Have some one on one time

This has a double benefit. It gives Mum some time for some ‘me’ time and gives you time with your new child alone. Go for a walk, and get the satisfaction of all the smiles you get from passers-by. Or go one further, take your baby to ‘Rhyme time’ or ‘Messy play’ or ‘Baby massage’.

If you really want to go to town, and your other half doesn’t mind returning to work early, do we me and my Wifey did, and share parental leave. My wife Natalie took the first six months, and I took the latter. This meant I had 8 hours on one on one with Munchkin every week day and boy, did we have fun. You can read about SPL (shared parental leave) in this post.

And that’s as simple

Thanks for reading, do you have any other tips?

And if you are a new Dad, have a read of ‘Five tips for a New Dad‘ which echoes similar sentiments to this post with other tips for new Dads.

Continue reading….

Twenty hours to parenting…

Our Birth Story

Natalie returns from a long term at work ready for a half term rest, a week before the Munchkin or Munchkiness is due to arrive. We didn’t know what we were due to have as we wanted the surprise.

Whilst I’m still at work, Natalie has a week off to prepare, pack the hospital essentials and get mentally prepared for pregnancy. Most babies go either full term or are a little late right?…

A normal Friday night…

We returned from work to a normal Friday night (well, a normal Friday night with a wife pregnant at full term, that is) stayed up a little late (as it was the start of half term) and we went to bed like any other weekend.

Saturday morning arrived. Natalie woke with some uncomfort, but then again when was pregnancy ever comfy…? We migrated downstairs, had brekky and relaxed on the sofa. The relatively NEW sofa I must add.

I look to Natalie. ‘Being a new sofa, do you reckon we should grab a towel just incase’. ‘Nah, I’m sure nothing with happen today’ she replied. We resume with whatever Netflix series we were engrossed in at the time.

The lies!

30 minutes later – 10 AM

30 minutes later Natalie looks to me. It’s 10 am on the first day of half term. ‘Oh no!’….It’s too late to get a towel now as the sofa gets the full effect of her waters breaking. ‘This can’t start today! It’s too soon!’.

Let the madness begin. A quiet morning coffee turns into a tirade of panic packing, quick decisions and gathering the last few bits for the birth bag.

10:15 AM

Natalie moves to the bathroom. From what we had seen on TV, waters breaking looked like you’d spilt water down yourself or, at worst, wet yourself. This looked more like the Niagara Falls for a full hour. The first surprise of the day.

At the same time Natalie rings the hospital. We get told this could be the start of a two day process and we should call back when the contractions begin.

Only an hour later – 11:15 AM

The waters stop and the contractions begin. We ring back. We are told its still early days and to ‘Call back when they are 5 minutes apart’.

11:30 AM

The contractions are 5 apart. ‘We understand you want to leave now but relax and call back when the contractions are 2 minutes apart.

I probably should have just stayed on the line.

11:39 AM

Natalie can no longer speak because of the contractions. I ring but they insist to speak to her. She wants to push and just about gets that across in limited speech. Get in the car NOW!!

12:00 PM

We grab everything we can think of and jump in the car. Usually the commute to the hospital would take 30 minutes maximum. But not today. Today they are cutting some bushes so there are traffic lights. Today it takes over 50 minutes.

12:50 PM

We arrive at the hospital and begin a slow walk up to the sauna, sorry, delivery suite. We wait then get taken to the triage ward. The nurse gets Natalie on the bed and then the phone rings and she pops off. We made it, we can relax. The bags are still in the car but ill collect them in a bit. Natalie’s still in nice clothes, but we’ve got hours right?

Natalie asks me to take a look as something feels different.

I crouch to have a look. Shocked, I can already see Munchkin’s little head popping out. I jump out of the curtains.

The nurse is still on the phone. I begin the ‘I really need you to see this’ dance until she gets the message and finishes the call.

The nurse follows me back in. The alarms go off and the team rush in.

One push, the head is out, push two. You’ve had a boy!


On the first day of half term, one week early, Munchkin arrives. In the triage ward, to two totally shocked and mentally unprepared new parents.

And that, was the fastest morning of my life.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin.

Continue Reading


Nine Months of Preparation and a fair bit of Panic – Our Birth Story Part 1

Pregnancy is magical….Our birth story part 1

You watch the adverts and films where someone discovers that their wife is pregnant and it is magical. Well, that’s what I expected too. It turns out being woken at 6am as Natalie does an unplanned ‘just checking’ test isn’t so sensational. It was hard to comprehend what she was actually telling me in that 6AM slumber, let alone feel a tiny bit of the extreme excitement that I would when even when just a little more alive.

Luckily, as a scientist, I convinced us that it was likely a false positive and that one test was not a significant result. We purchased another few tests to increase the sample size, or ‘n‘ (science joke there!), and consequently increase the statistical significance of the positive result.

In doing so, we also got to have our magical moment back when it was confirmed with three more ‘is it? Or isn’t it?’ blue lines and one more certain, digital display. The digital display also gave us a good indication of when the nine month countdown began, instantly deducting two weeks, and so the eight a half month timer started ticking…

Eight and a half months.

That’s a long time isn’t it? Surely….?

Nope. Welcome to what could only be described as time travel. With Natalie being a teacher, she works by terms too. By teacher maths, eight and a half months can simply be divided down to just two terms and summer. And that just seems to make the time fly faster.

Natalie wasn’t ever a big drinker so we thought we could keep the surprise until after the first scan, tell the family and then the rest. Oh, but then there’s that wedding!, oh and that cider and sausage party, and that BBQ…! With my Mum being a nurse it also limited the excuses somewhat. If we said antibiotics she would enquire what was wrong, and if she was driving she could just have one glass…?

So while the eight and a half months flew, those first 12 weeks were the slowest of the lot. Finally the day came, the surprise was revealed in an explosion of confetti and we could relax. Relax as much as we could knowing we needed to acquire all the baby clothes, nappies, a cot, a pushchair, a travel system and all the rest…

birth story
The reveal with Nanny F
The reveal with Nanny I, and Auntie and Uncle S

‘Relax’ also knowing that while the week 12 scan confirms you are to become a parent, it also signifies the start of the next eight weeks of worry while you wait for the week 20, more detailed, head to toe, inside and out scan to know you’re having a healthy baby.

It wasn’t long, like every year, before it was Christmas ? and then it was just two months till we met our Munchkin.

Bump’s first Christmas

Natalie planned to work up to half term, which was a week before her due date, have a week of relaxation, packing and planning and then expected deliver late.

On the Friday she came home put her feet up and relaxed.

Relaxed, knowing she had a week to pack and get prepared.

Relaxed, knowing she had a week to herself.

Relaxed, blissfully unaware that at 1.40pm the very next day there would be an early arrival….

To be continued….here.

Thanks for reading.

Daddy and Munchkin sign off

Subscribe for more