Author

theealingmummy

 

This week, I would like to introduce you to another Ealing Mum who has developed her own business and brand. Glenda Shawley runs a successful company called the Training Pack, where she provides training and consultancy to help other businesses grow. She has also written an insightful book Founded After Forty. The book gives plenty of help and guidance for a new business start up. This strikes a chord with me, as I am over forty! I believe now is the perfect time for me to start my own business!

Glenda strongly believes in the power of networking and is group leader for the Chiswick and Fulham branches of Fabulous Women and Marvellous Men. She also has been supporting Mums who want to re-train in social media marketing (which is something I am passionate about) and recently has been working with a Digital Mums trainee.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to another Mum who wanted to start her own business? 

Find something that you are both good at and enjoy. That other people will be prepared to pay sensible money for, because it won’t be easy juggling everything.  You’ll need the motivation that comes from happy customers served by a fulfilled business owner.

Which business women do you admire and why? 

Bryony Thomas of Watertight Marketing. She has developed a methodology, written a book and built a business around a marketing methodology that is logical and grounded. Plus she walks the talk.

Where do you see your business going in the next 5 years? 

I want to be known as a chief encourager for people starting and growing a business after the age of 40. I’ll be offering training and consultancy online and offline with a range of options from short online training modules through to a residential business inspiration ‘retreat’.

 

 

Why did you decided to become involved with Digital Mums? 

My brand is all about helping people to run a business on their terms so this fit perfectly. One of my objectives this year was to delegate more and I’ve been struggling to work out what I can delegate. So working with a Digital Mum was a perfect project for me to experiment with whilst also helping someone else out.

How long will you be working with your Digital Mum? 

The programme is about 6 months but we have the option to make it a commercial deal after the programme.

Is she working on your brand The Training Pack or also Fabulous Women too? 

My Digital Mum is working on raising awareness of the Training Pack brand, another Digital Mum is doing the same for Fabulous Women. Both our Mums are in the same peer group,so that they can support each other and benefit from the overlap in the two businesses.

You can follow Glenda on her various on her various social media platforms:

Twitter @Glenda_S

Facebook @TheTrainingPack

Instagram @glendashawley

 

If you or someone you know would like to be featured on my series #MumsWhoWorkIt then please do contact me via my email: hello@theealingmummy.com

 

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This Half Term we decided to book a family holiday to Center Parcs and this time we picked Woburn Forest as we hadn’t visited this location before. We particularly liked the fact that it takes just over one hour to drive there from Ealing and as our little one tends to suffer with travel sickness, so this really suited us.

So let me walk you through what we got up to this October Half Term and also share with you my top tips for a successful break!

Accommodation

We stayed in an Woodland Lodge and found it was worth spending that bit extra on the accommodation this time. Not only do you get the added bonus of a daily maid service, but generally the decor and furniture was much more modern and fresh. I really loved some of the extras such as a coffee machine and there was even a refrigerated wine cooler! Ok, so Centre Parcs are not cheapest holiday, but you get what you pay for. For me when I go away, I want to stay somewhere that is as good as or nicer than my own home.

Our lodge had a large open plan living and kitchen area, two bedrooms both with en-suite bathrooms. You also have Wi-Fi included, flat screen TV’s in the lounge and both bedrooms, an outside patio area with seating, plus your bed linen and towels are included. We didn’t get to use it, but there is also an open fire place which I’m sure would be so cosy on a Winter’s evening. Over all I was very impressed with the accommodation the rooms were spotless and extras were provided such as toiletries, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, hairdryer and pods for the coffee machine.

Activities 

There are so many activities to choose from during your stay. There is something for everyone and we found for our five year old there was plenty to keep her occupied. We tend not to book too much as we want to enjoy all that the park has to offer without rushing around. As went stayed around Halloween there was lots of activities based around this theme.

Our Daughter did pumpkin hunting and also attended a spooky princesses and wizards party which she enjoyed a lot. I noticed that the staff really made an effort and dressed up in costumes, which also added to the Halloween atmosphere!

We also did pony riding, which is a real treat and pottery painting which I absolutely loved, as you can see from the photo I was totally lost in concentration.

 

What You Can Do For Free?

Yes, there are things to do that are totally free! You can bring your own bikes and then cycle around the forest’s numerous paths. Once everyone has parked their cars it is really safe to cycle and very relaxing too. Or you could get on your scooter and have a whiz around.

Of course the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is included in the price of your stay. You will find that the lockers work with your electronic wrist bands and there are buoyancy aids available free of charge for children. Our little one particularly liked the wave machine and the lazy river.

You could also enjoy a walk or jog in the forest, there are lots of paths and there are also two lovely adventure playgrounds.

There is always soft play, if you can handle the chaos! Available in The Sports Bar and in various restaurants.

We were lucky enough to be there the week before Bonfire night, so got to experience a wonderful free fireworks display down by the lake. It was a great atmosphere with entertainers and open air food stalls too.

Eating & Drinking

We like to eat out in the evenings and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Most of them have children’s play areas, which for us is a real bonus. We can sit and relax while our daughter gets to burn off some energy.

This time we tried Strada, Cafe Rouge, Hucks (Hucks has the biggest and best play area) and Las Iguanas. We found the staff to be really friendly and helpful and so geared towards children. There were always colouring activities to keep her busy!

There are other options for lunch and more informal dinning, such as Starbucks, The Sports Cafe and The Pancake House.

The Ealing Mummy’s Top Tips When Staying At Centre Parcs

  • Make sure you book all your activities well in advance of your holiday, especially at peak times they will get booked up and you don’t want to be disappointed!
  • Try to take your basic food essentials such as: bread, milk, cereals, cooking oil, tea bags. It will save on time and money going to the on site shop.
  • Don’t forget your wellies, waterproofs and umbrellas. Some lodges are a fair old walk to the Village Centre or Sub Tropical Swimming Pool.
  • You will need to bring towels for use at the swimming pool, as you are not meant to use your accommodation towels for this purpose. You can however hire towels too for a price.
  • I would also advice making any restaurant bookings in advance too, because there are limited tables available early evening when everyone with children wants to eat.
  • Think about arriving before the official check in time for your lodge (which is 3pm), you can park your car and use all the facilities it make your holiday that bit longer!

Will We Be Going Back?

Yes! most definitely! The thing with Center Parcs is it has so many benefits and what ever the British weather throws at you there is always plenty to keep us occupied. There is so much to do and the activities fit a variety of age ranges, so I can see us going back for many years to come!

The other thing I love is that they really do make an effort to make the forest look magical for Christmas. While we were there I saw staff putting up numerous lights, features, Christmas trees (with artificial snow) and even a wooden grotto. I think a Christmas stay could be on my bucket list!

Disclaimer

All comments and opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of our recent stay at Center Parcs. This review is completely independent and I have not been paid by Center Parcs or given anything for free.

 

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Tell me a bit about your background and why you decided to start Baby Steps?

I am a Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor, Infant Massage Instructor and Mummy of two!

I’ve been in the Health Service over 22 years and started Baby Steps back in 2006. I was Health Visiting in central London at the time and services were becoming more stretched.  I saw the need for a relaxed, friendly service helping address common parental concerns, as often families were not getting the support they needed.

I also wanted to create a role which could be flexible in the future for when I hopefully had a family. I’ve always continued to work in the NHS too and think it can offer an amazing service. Baby Steps offers Baby and Child First Aid and Weaning courses. Courses can be in the comfort of parents’ homes or at local venues. They can be with friends and family or just for the parents themselves.

I feel incredibly lucky to do something I love so much. Seeing the reassurance and confidence the Baby Steps courses give, alongside my A&E nursing is so rewarding. Right from Day one it has felt such a privilege to work closely with families. It is often the little things that makes a difference.

Do you still work in the NHS? 

Yes, absolutely. I do shifts regularly in Chelsea and Westminster Paediatric Accident and Emergency where I have worked since 2000.  I really love the buzz of A&E. The variety is amazing; caring for children with day to day illness and injuries right through to life threatening conditions.  When it is your own child nothing feels minor and I really understand that!

How do you spend your time when you are not running Baby Steps?

I am a wife and Mummy to Isabella age 8 and William age 5. I knew I would love being a Mummy but it has been a billion times better than I imagined.  It’s extremes – amazingly wonderful and the hardest job ever all at the same time!  Being a parent has massively helped my work too.

I am really enjoying being a school Mummy and help with school trips and listening to reading each week in their class.

I love girlie time with my friends, being outside and going for lovely walks, to shop, watch box sets, eat chocolate, cook yummy food for family and friends. I love the beach and try to go whenever I can with the family to blow the cobwebs away!

What sort of topics do you cover in your courses?

As a parent, Nurse and Health Visitor, I have combined all that experience that to make the courses the most practical and helpful for parents, grandparents and babysitters. The courses are bespoke and tailored to the age of the children of those attending and if there are any specific concerns or medical conditions.

The Baby and Child First Aid course covers all the main First Aid topics; including burns, scalds, cuts, bruises, allergies, ingestions and head injuries.  I am passionate about accident prevention and home safety. So as well as covering the important First Aid I very much focus on how to prevent the accidents in the first place!  I also cover temperatures, Meningitis and aspects of childhood illness.

I have an army of manikins and everyone gets to learn and practice the CPR and choking techniques. We chat about where to get help, what to keep in a First Aid kit and medicine cabinet – everything really!  Everyone is given a First Aid manual and loads of info to refer to after the course.

The Weaning course really aims to ensure parents feel excited not daunted about this lovely stage. I go through step by step how to introduce solids, the various options; purees, mash, finger foods, Baby Led as it is really confusing these days!  I explain how babies can have family food from early on to save hours preparation and massively encourage the fun, social aspects of eating!  Everyone gets a booklet of all the info covered with recipes, food ideas to refer to along their Weaning journey.  We chat about teething, cups, dummies and other things that can be happening around this time.  You can see parents shoulders drop through the course as they can see it actually will be fun!

With both courses I have a stack of demo stuff again to make the courses as useful as possible!

Since you launched Baby Steps what has been the biggest challenge you have faced?

I think like most parents it’s juggling time!  Sometimes I stay up to late doing emails or preparation for Baby Steps once the children are in bed, but it’s important to switch off. Also I have so many ideas for Baby Steps and I need to remember to take it step by step!

If you could give one piece of advice to a new parent what would it be?

To go day by day.  Everyone says when your babies are tiny the time goes so quickly and you are often too tired to take that in. The tricky parts are just a phase but it can be hard to see that at the time. Mine are both at school now and I am so pleased I made the most of my time with them when they were small. Part time work kept me sane but I am a Mummy above and beyond anything. You do get more balance back as they get older.

When it comes to home safety there is a lot of equipment out there, what do you think is the most worthwhile to buy and why?

Stair gates are so important. Children can move way before they understand the dangers and we see terrible accidents in A&E from stairs. Corner cushions – I know they are ugly but coffee tables are big culprits of head injuries!

A lot of stuff isn’t necessary but it’s preventing the big accidents and reducing your stress levels as you can’t have eyes in the back of your head!

Why should a parent come along to one of your courses?

To feel reassured and confident! They are super practical course and parents are buzzing with tips and ideas following the courses. I have loved it so much when parents have said they feel ’empowered’ from the First Aid course or ‘excited’ about Weaning. Sometimes parents can have had a tough time and the courses can be a turning point to getting the advice and confidence they need. I am always happy to chat through issues on a 1:1.

Where do you see Baby Steps going in the future?

I love the group courses but I also love the 1:1 appointments supporting parents with different issues related to health and nutrition. I am doing more now online (Facetime, What’s App video) so am excited to think I could help parents all over the world!

My interests in Home Safety and Nutrition are growing all the time I am so excited to be passing information on to families. I am on a mission to ensure parents are as fully informed as possible when making decisions about their child’s safety. Often all they see is the marketing and not the potential risks with some products.

As far as Nutrition goes it is huge for all of us as we learn more and more how what we eat impacts on our health, sleep, moods, energy so for growing little brains and bodies even more so.  I am so keen for babies to build a good healthy relationship with food early on and for families to enjoy happy meals together.

I haven’t quite got there yet but am planning to run First Aid courses for children in schools and for parents to be able to learn with their children or arrange for a group of kids at home.  It’s an amazing opportunity for them to start lifelong learning of First Aid.

You can find out more about Baby Steps via the Website and don’t forget to follow Baby steps on social media for regular updates on upcoming courses @babystepsx

The Ealing Mummy and Baby Steps are running a free event Ealing Mum’s Mush Up on Tuesday 7th November 2017 at the Grove Pub in Ealing 12 midday. Come and join us in a friendly and relaxed environment with taster sessions on how to deal with choking and find out a bit more about weaning. You will also receive a free goodie bag. Limited tickets available, please book your tickets via Eventbrite.

 

 

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I wish that there had been such a thing as Mush when I had my Daughter in 2012. Let me take you back just five years ago, of course we had Facebook, all the usual NCT meet ups and playgroups that were an opportunity to make new Mum friends, but there certainly wasn’t an app quite like Mush.

Take a look at this photo below. What comes to your mind when you see this image? Happy first time Mum? Friendly, sociable Mum who has lots of friends? Well, no that wasn’t actually the case.

In reality when I first had my Daughter I didn’t actually know any other Mums in the Ealing area. I felt isolated and lonely. You see before I was a Mum my life did not revolve around my local neighbourhood at all. I worked in another part of London and commuted on a daily basis, so actually my network of friends were spread out all over London.

When I became a Mum it was definitely a shock to my system. I realised it was not feasible to be meeting up with friends on the other side of London with a young baby. What I really needed was a local support network of like minded Mums. Some people might say well surely that is easy you just turn up at your local baby group and connect with another Mum over coffee and cake? Well actually it wasn’t that simple if I am honest.

Sometimes when I went to baby groups or classes the Mums who were already there had their own little clique and weren’t really that interested in me. Or on other occasions my Daughter was either crying or when she was a bit older was all over the place, I felt like I couldn’t take my eyes off her. It was hard to concentrate and actually hold a decent conversation with another Mum.

In the end I was lucky and met my perfect Mum friend in a random meeting in a Marks & Spencer Cafe and that was the solution to my situation. However not everyone can find friends that way. According to a recent poll conducted by ChannelMum.com 90% of Mums feel lonely.

This is where Mush comes in. It is a free app that you can download from the App Store or Google Play. From the comfort of your sofa you can search for a local Mum who has a similar age child to you or even a Mum who is pregnant. You can send them a message and arrange to meet up and you will also find Mush-ups where groups of Mums might meet up at a local coffee shop or child friendly venue.

The app has a great facility where other Mums can write a review about child friendly venues from cafes, playgroups and shops. That way you can find out where other Mush Mums like to hang out and what top tips they have. You will also find Mush Guides which provide entertaining reading on a wide variety of topics.

I’m currently in the process of organising an event for local Mush Mums to get together in Ealing. So keep your eyes peeled for details on social media and over on the Mush app

Disclaimer – I am currently a Mush Mum Ambassador and I am championing the app in my local area of Ealing, West London.

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Saturday evening is usually our family night out where we like to enjoy a meal together, so we are always looking for somewhere new to try. So when Bob’s Cafe opened in Ealing we couldn’t wait to try out their menu!

One of the most important factors for us is that any resturant we go to has to be child friendly and Bob’s definitely is. It is an all day bistro serving a variety of food in an American/French style. On arrival my Daughter was given a colouring sheet and crayons and the staff made an effort to speak to all of us and made us feel very welcome. They offer a menu specially designed for children and my Daughter was very pleased with her beef burger served with veggies and fries priced at £4.95 I thought that was good value.

The atmosphere was lively and perfect for a casual Saturday evening meal. We loved the fact the front doors were wide open and were lucky the evening was warm and sunny. We almost felt like we were dining al fresco on the continent! We decided on an appetiser to share and were impressed with the tasty crunch tiger prawns (£5.95).

Our main courses arrived swiftly afterwards and we all really enjoyed what we ordered. I couldn’t resist the buttermilk chicken kiev schnitzel (£12.95) and my husband enjoyed a tasty salmon, black sesame and sushi rice salad (£12.95).

To finish my Daughter tucked into the simply delicious churros served with chocolate dipping sauce (£2.95). The portion was perfect for a child, plus I have to admit I did try one! Both myself and my Husband had a coffee to finish the meal off and I have to say it was excellent! Served hot and strong just how I like it!

We had a lovely family evening at Bob’s Cafe, Ealing. I would highly recommend it for a relaxed family meal out, plus I could see there were highchairs available for younger children and I also noticed there were good clean baby changing facilitates too, this is something that I know when my Daughter was younger was really important to me.

Bob’s Cafe is at 31 Haven Green, Ealing, W5 2NX, just a short walk from Ealing Broadway train station. They also have branches in Queen’s Park and Muswell Hill.

Don’t forget to follow them on social media too!

Twitter @bobscafes

Facebook @bobscafes

Instagram @bobscafes

Disclosure: I was given a complimentory voucher by the cafe which covered payment for part of my meal. The above is an honest review of my experience and reflects my own opinions.

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For the first in my series of interviews for #MumsWhoWorkIt I am very pleased to introduce you to Helene from Croque Maman. Helene is an Ealing Mum who initially started Croque Maman as a blog just over four years ago and since then it has developed into an online boutique selling a beautiful range of baking kits, table/kitchenware and children’s accessories.

Helene, thank you for agreeing to share your story with The Ealing Mummy. Tell us a bit about yourself and how Croque Maman came about?

I’m a Mum to twin boys living in Ealing and originally from France. Back when I was on maternity leave when I was living in Chiswick I was part of an NCT Group and it turned out I was the only Mum from France. The other Mums in my group were always intrigued about what I was feeding my boys, so I started to share my recipes and tips. One of my friends suggested that I start a blog to share my ideas on feeding children in the French way and it grew from there.

What did you do before you had Children?

Before I became a Mother I worked in marketing and branding, so both aspects of my previous career have been extremely useful in moving my business forward.

When did you decided to take the next step and move something that was a hobby into a business?

Once my Maternity leave came to an end I decided that a return to work in my previous career would not offer the flexibility that I needed to care for my boys. This is when I realised that I could turn my love and passion for encouraging other parents to feed their children a varied and healthy diet into a business.

I invested in some training which included a food photography course and also was involved with Google Campus for Mums, which was an eight-week programme where I met other Mums who were developing their own businesses.

Tell us more about the products you sell in your on-line Boutique?

The products that I stock are all sourced independently from France. They reflect my love of good food and healthy eating.

I sell baking kits that contain organic ingredients and are prefect to have at home when you would like to do some impromptu baking or even for a special occasion.

I also have a range of high quality kitchen accessories and tools. I believe that having tools and implements in the kitchen that make your like easier to prepare fruit and vegetables, that way you are more inclined to make dishes from scratch.

My diverse range of products also extends to small toys which can be played with at the table and are something you could keep in your handbag when you are out and about.

Tell us about one of your favourite products that you sell?

I particularly love the large bibs, they are really handy with slightly older children who still need to protect their clothes from spillages at the table, but want to feel more grown up and not feel like they are wearing a bib.

French toddler bib, organic cotton – Lion £15.95

What advice would you give to other Mums who want to start an Online Business?

I would say try to find your niche and something that your passionate about and also stay true to yourself. This might mean turning down some opportunities if they don’t fit with your brand.

Where do you see your Business going in the next five years?

I would like to develop my own range of products to sell in the boutique. I also want to continuing blogging and sharing my recipes online too. So watch this space!

You can find Helene over on her Blog and you can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @croquemaman

 

Helene kindly gave us one of her reusable colouring in placemat sets to try out. This clever item will keep your little ones busy at mealtime and comes with five erasable colouring pens and a superhero wristband. It is made from high quality soft silicone and is easy to clean, you can even pop it in the dishwasher. You can see here how much my Daughter is enjoying it!

Reusable colouring in placemat set – Cactus £20.49

 

Would you like to be featured in my #MumsWhoWorkIt Series? I am always looking for Mums to interview. I welcome Mums to contact me who have started their own business. You must live in the London area, as I like to come and meet up face to face. If you are interested then please contact me at: hello@theealingmummy.com I would love to hear your story!

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If there is one activity that my Daughter is always asking to do it is trampolining! We have a trampoline in our garden and it gets a lot of use, but she seems to enjoy this activity even more when we visit a trampoline park. There is a new venue to try out and it is only a short journey from Ealing. So we put on our jumping socks this Half Term and decided to go and try Flip Out.

Situated at Staples Corner Retail Park there is plenty of free parking right outside the venue. I would recommend booking online as this way you can ensure you are booked for the most convienent time for you, plus it is at this point you can sign the waiver form online which saves you time at the venue. However you can just turn up on the day, but do bear in mind that sessions start on the hour.

The park has a variety of different sessions to suit age range and ability. For example they offer sessions for children under the age of 5 called Mini Flippers, this is where toddlers and parents can bounce together learning new skills and gaining confidence on the trampolines. For older children they offer a class called Little Ninjas. Then for anyone over the age of 15 there is Flip Fit a great way to burn calories. On the day we attended it was a standard free jumping session, which is priced at £12.50 per person.

We loved Flip Out because it had some different features to some of the other trampoline parks we have been to. Of course there were absolutely loads of different trampolines to bounce on, plus bars to balance on with soft foam to fall in. For older children/adults there is the stunt box area and wall runners.

We also couldn’t get enough of the laser maze challenge, which is included in the price and you really do feel like you are staring in Mission Impossible dodging the laser beams! After all this adventure we enjoyed a drink and snack in the cafe. It is also worth pointing out there is free Wifi, baby changing facilities and the lockers are also complimentary.

While we were there we also looked at the party rooms. They have two rooms one has an underwater theme and the other one is woodland themed, so could be a great option for a birthday party next year.

We really enjoyed our morning at Flip Out and are looking forward to our next visit very soon!

You can follow Flip Out on social media to stay up to date with their latest offers
Facebook @flipoutbrentcross
Twitter @flipoutbrebtcross
Instagram @flipoutbrentcross

Disclaimer
We received free entry to Flip Out in return for a review. Everything you read is an honest reflection of our visit and all opinions are my own.

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This is my first official post as The Ealing Mummy and the first in my series of posts for #MumsWhoWorkIt. My plan is on a weekly basis to interview another Mum who like me has either re-trained or has set up her own business. This week I wanted to tell you about my journey from someone who had only every used social media to share my child’s photos on Facebook, to now a fully qualified Social Media Manager.  I am really excited to have re-branded and combined my original blogs which were Mummy of the Suburbs and Ealing With Kids. I wanted to write this post to firstly explain what I have been doing since September 2016 (as I have been off the blogging radar so to speak) and secondly to let you know what my plans for the future are.

My blogging journey started back in July 2016, so officially I have been blogging for almost a year! I started Mummy Of The Suburbs having absolutely no idea about the blogging world and very little knowledge of social media. The blog did fairly well and I gained a reasonable following and managed to have two articles published on Huffington Post and even got interviewed by local BBC radio. Like many things in life, one thing lead to another and I soon realised that social media was something that really intrigued me.

Digital Mums had popped up in my Facebook feed a number of months previously and I had looked into it, but at the time I didn’t really understand what a Social Media Manager did, so I dismissed it. However once I started to write my blog it became apparent to me how powerful social media was and how by using it in the correct way it could make all the difference to your following. So once again Digital Mums stood out to me and this time it was the right time for me, because now I knew I wanted to learn something new and I took the next step and actually applied for their Social Media Manager course!

The application process involved writing a short piece about how you could “Do The Hustle”. Digital Mums call it their mantra and I think you have to have this special type of self belief to be successful in the world of digital marketing. For my example I wrote about how I set up a small business back in 2015 and how I managed to convince another business to work with me. Sadly that particular business didn’t work out, however I learnt a lot of useful lessons from it. After I had written my piece a member of the Digital Mums team contacted me.  We had a chat over the phone. and talked about why I wanted to do the course and the commitment that was involved. Shortly after this I was accepted on the course and I was over the moon to be started something new!

My course begun in November 2016 and from the start I was introduced to five other Mums who were also doing the same training, they became my support for the next seven months. My peer group didn’t live nearby, but that didn’t matter because we had weekly meetings online and shared messages in a WhatsApp group. The training material was all formatted on an online platform and was a mixture of written lessons, videos and quizzes. Each week we focused on a different topic and we really did start from the basics in social media and as the weeks went on we built on our knowledge.

The idea with the training is that you build a grass roots social media campaign from scratch and that is where Ealing With Kids came from. I knew that I wanted to write about activities with children in the area and I also wanted to support local businesses too, so that is what I focused on. By completing my training with Digital Mums I have learnt so many valuable skills from understanding the basics of setting up all the social media platforms, from creating a campaign and running it on a day to day basis, to developing an understanding of the analytics used in the background to measure success and improve performance. I could go on and on as my learning curve has been steep, but what I really what to convey to you is that is possible to learn to work in a completely new field.

We often hear how it is common to embrake on a new career in your thirties or forties, well I am proof that it does happen. I trained to be a Registered Nurse when I was eighteen and almost twenty years later here I am starting a career in something completely different. It feels refreshing and exciting to have learnt a completely different skill and I have managed to do it at the same time as working part time as a Practice Nurse and of course being a Mum to my five year old Daughter. I have to tell you the truth it has been a real challenge to study, work and be a parent all the same time, but with hard work and determination it can be done!

So back to the present, you may be wondering why I decided to re-brand my blog? Well the reason behind it is that when I was running my grass roots campaign I blogged about local businesses and activities for children in the Ealing area and to my surprise these local posts were much more popular than anything I had written about general parenting on my other blog, therefore I decided that writing about my local area should be my niche.

My goals for the future are to have a successful blog and to start working as a freelance Social Media Manager. I have come a long way in the last eight months and I am looking forward to living a more flexible lifestyle. I will continue with my Nursing role, but I am hoping to take on less hours and focus on my passion for writing and helping other businesses grow their social media following and presence.

If you have any questions about my training with Digital Mums #WorkThatWorks then please do contact me! Or if you would like to be interviewed for my #MumsWhoWorkIt series then please let me know.

Cuddle Fairy
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What do you do on a rainy day in London? Well, visit one of the many wonderful Museums of course! We are so lucky to live so near to all that London has to offer children and one of my personal favourites is The London Transport Museum. It is situated just a short walk from Covent Garden Tube station. It is great value for two reasons, firstly children go free and the adult ticket entitles you to come back for free as many times as you like for the next twelve months.

The Museum is an excellent choice for children aged two years and up, because there is so much for them to do and is really interactive. Along with all the wonderful vintage vehicles (many of which you can actually get into) I particularly liked the All Abroad Family Play Zone. Your child can really get involved from actually driving a simulated tube train, to helping out in the lost property office and even repairing a train as you can see my Daughter really got into her roles below!

Another part of the museum I thought was great is that they have a large wooden train track and London related landmarks models available for children to sit down on the floor and play. My little one really enjoyed this and could have happily sat there for hours. The museum puts on special activities during school holiday, so be sure to check out the website for that.

After our visit to the Museum we were looking for somewhere family friendly to have a spot of lunch, when we stumbled across The Wildwood Restaurant. I would really recommend it as it was really set up for children. A good children’s menu, child sized cutlery and cups. Plus they provided colouring/puzzle sheets and pencils. The staff were very friendly and welcoming. They genuinely seemed to enjoying interacting with us. All of these little touches make for a relaxing meal, as it can be stressful sometimes taking your child out in a central London restaurant. Wildwood is somewhere I would return to and look  out for other branches elsewhere in the country.

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How many times have you suffered with a health issue and thought I really should see a Doctor about that, but because of the busy and hectic life you are leading you don’t manage to make that appointment? I know this feeling well and as a working parent there have been many occasions over the last four years that I have perhaps not taken my health as seriously as I should. We are all too busy running around looking after everyone else in our lives. Our children are our main focus, so we rarely have time to stop and think about ourselves.

It is obvious that your own health should be your priority, because if you are not mentally and physically fit to look after your own family then who will? In today’s society it is often the case that we no longer live near our immediate family. In my case both my parents live more than 100 miles away, so are not in a position to help if things go wrong. So now is the time to start looking at what you can do to improve your health.

First of all, are there any outstanding tests or investigations that you have been putting off? Are you up to date with your cervical smear test? You should be having a test every three years. In my job as a Practice Nurse I perform numerous smears on a daily basis. One of the things I hear nearly every day is “I know I should have come sooner, I have been putting it off”. Please don’t put this test off, it really does just take a couple of minutes and it could save your life. So if you have had a letter recently reminding you your test is due, pick up the phone and book your appointment at your GP surgery today. For more information about cervical screening have a look at NHS Choices .

My next question to you is are you over forty? If so did you know that the NHS offers a free health check? This is something that not everyone seems to be aware of and doesn’t always take up. It is a check up of your overall health and it can tell you if you are more at risk of: heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. First you need to attend your surgery to have blood tests taken and then you will be invited back to discuss the results. At the appointment you will also have your blood pressure and weight taken. This is usually done by the Practice Nurse or Health Care Assistant. Once completed it will be able to give you an overall picture of your health and the areas you need to improve upon.

You might wonder if having a health check actually makes any difference? The NHS latest research suggests that,
“For every 27 people having an NHS Health Check, one person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, for every 110 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and for every 265 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with kidney disease”.

Getting this check done could be the first step to ensuring you get the correct treatment for a condition, that you might have otherwise not known you had.

Don’t forget about your mental health either. 1 in 4 people will have suffered with some sort of mental health problem in their lifetime. Stop for a second and think about how your mental health may be effecting your daily life?

  • Are you eating, drinking or smoking too much?
  • Are you short tempered with your children or partner?
  • Do you lack energy or always feel tied or run down?

All of these things could be related to your mental health. Not all of us want to or need to go for counselling, but have you considered it? You will be able to get help via your GP. For more information about mental health see the Mind website .

Finally, I would like to draw to your attention to that health niggle that you might have had for some time. Whether it be the mole on your back that you have noticed has been getting bigger, or perhaps you have suffered with heart burn/acid indigestion for a long time or you have had a change in bowel habit, but have done nothing about it. Make the time now to speak to your GP. Our health is so precious and you should never under estimate the benefits of an early diagnosis.

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