This Easter we had the opportunity to try out some treats all the way from Sweden! It’s something a bit different from our usual Easter Eggs. Clas Ohlson has now become a familiar face on the British High Street and we were really pleased when they opened one of their stores in the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.
What can you do with the kids on a cold Sunday afternoon? Go and take advantage of some of the great Children’s Theatre currently running at Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford. Last weekend we went to see Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this performance, as I haven’t seen any children’s comedy before. However I was pleasantly surprised!
I didn’t expect to actually find it that funny, but I was laughing along with my Daughter and laughing even louder at some jokes that maybe she didn’t get. My Daughter is almost 6 years old so I would say it is suitable from 5 years and up depending on the child of course.
Jay Foreman has performed four sell out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and by all accounts he has a real talent for entertaining children and adults alike! Some critics have even compared him to the comic genius that was Spike Milligan and I would definitely agree with that. we both found his show absolutely hallarious!
What I particularly enjoyed about his show was the way he engaged with the audience. My Daughter found it particularly funny that Jay asked the audience to replace a round of applause with a loud raspberry!
He mixes rhymes and songs with strange noises, we really liked the following songs: My car runs on caterpillar sick which gives a nod to being more environmentally friendly. Grandma which talks about trying to get you to eat unbranded expired food! Then there is The Sooty Show which really took me back to my childhood!
Since we have been going to the theatre on a more regular basis. I can really see the benefits to all of us as a family. Not only does it give you the opportunity to do something together, but it also means that you and your child are introduced to new topics for discussion.
I actually hadn’t laughed as much as I did last weekend in ages! We both left the theatre in an upbeat mood proving laughter really is the best therapy, especially on a cold dark afternoon!
Watermans have lots more Children’s Theatre and activities coming up over the Easter holidays. So head over to their website and check out their Children’s Family Theatre Spring Brochure for all the listings. If you can book soon, as these performances tend to get booked up well in advance.
All views are my own and are an honest reflection of the show I saw. I was given complimentary ticket in return for a review.
I was over the moon when itsu arrived in Ealing Broadway! It has been a favourite of mine to go for a healthy lunch when out and about in London. Itsu currently have 60 shops in various locations throughout London and branches in Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Richmond, Stanstead Airport and Heathrow Airport.
Eat Beautiful, is how itsu describes their menu and I tend to agree with this, because I have always found their food to be presented in a lovely way, plus the ingredients are both fresh and great quality too! So last week I decided to introduce my Daughter to the Itsu experience! I thought it would be the perfect after school meal and I must say she was really happy with the choices available that suited her taste buds!
I absolutely love the decor and the ambience of itsu. It’s the little touches that I like, for example each table had a tea light placed on it. The background music wasn’t loud and I have noticed all table tops are kept very clean and tidy.
As you can see from my photos highchairs are available for little ones and there was a clean toilet in the store with baby changing facilities too.
Another reason I am so keen on itsu is the choice of meals that are available. There is a fine selection of Sushi, but if you are not a fan of this traditional Japanese food, then there are plenty of tasty alternatives. I particularly like the asian salads, with either teriyaki chicken or salmon. There are some great vegetarian options too.
In this cold weather it’s always great to have a hot food opinion too. Itsu serve a variety of dumplings with dipping sauces. Plus there is a wide selection of noodle soups, hot chicken and rice dishes, such as katsu chicken curry or spicy korean pork and rice.
My Daughter decided up:
Starter – Edamame beans
Main – Pandamania – which consists of chargrilled chicken with chives, salmon baby rolls, avocado baby rolls, sushi rice, sesame seeds and Muki beans.
Desert – Coconut Little Choc Pot
Drink – Fresh juice made in store – Raw Fruitfix containing ginger, apple, pineapple, strawberries, banana, and apple juice blended with ice.
She absolutely loved her fresh juice as you can see by the look on her face!
I couldn’t resist a lovely box of sushi! The quality of the sushi was great! (I have tried sushi from many different restaurants and I have also travelled to Japan in the past, so I think I am well qualified to comment). I also decided to have a coffee and a chocolate desert to go with it.
There are plenty more desserts to choose from. You will be spoilt for choice!
Don’t forget istu have a half price sale every evening. So if you are around just before the store closes you can grab your favourite dish for half the price! This also shows Itsu’s commitment to start each day with 100% fresh food.
This is a collaborative post. However all opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of my visit to the store.
Here in Ealing we are very lucky to have a wide selection of independent schools to choose from. Now is a really good time to think about options if your child is due to start reception in September. Many schools will have open mornings in the Spring, so in the meantime you should think about getting your research done now.
The first thing to consider is what type of school you would like your child to attend? Are you looking for a prep school in particular? Do you want that to be same sex? Or co-educated? Or perhaps you are looking for a school that will take your child all the way from nursery to when they leave school at eighteen?
Researching schools initially can take some time. You could start by reading a guide such as The Good Schools Guide. You should also have a look at the school’s website and obtain a prospectus. It is also useful to read the Independent Schools Inspectorate report for the school of your choice.
In my opinion the best way to really get a feel for a school is to visit on either an open day or most schools can organise a private tour. I think it is really beneficial to see the school operating on a normal school day ,as that way you can really see how it runs on a daily basis. It is of course important to look at exam results and see where the pupils tend to go after they leave.
Also look at what sort of areas the school excels at. Do they have a particularly good drama and music department or do they have a particularly good sports facilities? It all depends on what is important for you and your child.
For our Daughter we decided upon Harvington Prep School. She started there when she was three years old in the Nursery. The Nursery at Harvington accepts girls and boys from the term that they are three years old, up until they move onto the next stage of their education.
We knew straight away that Harvington was the school for our Daughter on our very first visit. We loved the fact that the school was small. It currently has 128 pupils. This was also reflected in the class sizes (our Daughter has just sixteen girls in her class). There is a real sense of community and I have seen for myself how many of the older girls have made the time to get to know some of the younger ones. The Headmistress Mrs Evans really does know every child by name!
Music and drama play a big part in school life. We are lucky enough to have both a designated drama and music teacher. Since our Daughter has been there have been many amazing school drama productions directed by Mr Grant, involving children right from nursery up to Year six. Children also encouraged to learn an instrument and many progress to an exam standard.
Harvington prepares girls for the 11+ entrance exams for many of the top London day and grammar schools. My Daughter is still very early on in her education, however the encouragement and dedication she has received from her teachers has meant her progression in both Maths and English has been above and beyond what I would have expected for her age.
After school clubs run every day and these include such activities as: cookery, tennis, reading, crafts and dance. The School also offers breakfast clubs and after school care which is very helpful for the busy working parent.
If you are interested in seeing the school for yourself, you can contact the office to organise a visit.
Phone: 020 8997 1583
20 Castlebar Road
Don’t forget to follow Harvington Prep School on social media for regular updates and news:
Facebook – @Harvingtonprepschool
Twitter – @harvingtonprep
If your Daughter is due to start reception this September, then why not come along to an Art Attack coffee Morning? Thursday 8th February from 8:45 -10:45 see full details below!
This is a collaborative post.
The weather might be cold at the moment, but that is not putting off the people of Ealing indulging in mouth watering Italian desserts! Ealing has recently welcomed Amorino which gives us the perfect opportunity to enjoy authentic gelato, sorbets, macarons and hand crafted hot drinks too!
Amorino was created by two childhood friends Cristiano Sereni and Paolo Benassi in Paris back in 2002 and since then stores have opened all over the world. Their Philosophy is ” to make the highest quality gelato as naturally as possible with no artificial colours or flavourings”.
The first thing that you notice when you pay a visit to Amorino is the choice. There is a wide range of favours available in both the gelato and sorbets. It really is hard to decide! The Ealing boutique has plenty of comfortable seating and has a light inviting atmosphere. The friendly staff are on hand to help advise you on the various offerings!
One of the things we absolutely loved is that if you simply can’t choose then you can have a variety of favours either in a cone or tub!
The attention to detail in the presentation of the gelato is simply perfection and I think that is what makes the experience even more special. My Daughter absolutely loved the flower cone, I think it is the perfect treat!
We also tried the macarons which were out of this world! They really compliment the rich Italian coffee served here.
If you would like to experience Amorino in the comfort of your own home then you can! Any of the favours can be purchased as a take away.
We are already looking forward to our next visit to Amorino! With so many favours to try, I can see plenty of after school visits coming up!
Don’t forget to follow Amorino on social media, @AmorinoUK to stay up to date with all their news. Plus you will find their stores throughout central London. Go and check out their Christmas range as they have special festive cones in their boutiques now!
You will find Amorino at unit 8, The Green, Ealing, W5 5DA. Open Monday to Thursday 11:00 to 23:00 and Sundays 11:00 to 22:00.
This is a collaborative post with Amorino.
Here in Ealing we are so lucky to have Watermans Arts Centre right on our doorstep. The Centre houses an independent cinema, theatre and art gallery. The Christmas programme is in full swing and top of the bill is The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It is the perfect performance to take your children to this Christmas. The show is based on the original book by ETA Hoffmann, which was published in Germany in 1816. Winter Walker the theatre production company have brought the story to life with their clever use of puppets, enchanting music, dance and a beautiful set.
The performance runs for 50 minutes and is just the right length of time for younger children . It is recommended for children 3+ years. My 5 year old absolutely loved it and sat completed enthralled for the whole time. The story was easy to follow and the cast really engaged with the audience.
After the show there was plenty going on in the foyer. The cast were available for photographs, plus there is currently a wall mural in the foyer by Scott Walker. Pens are provided so that children can colour in the art work, my little one absolutely loved it! Small gifts and toys were also available to purchase.
How to get to Watermans
It is a short distance from Ealing and well served by public transport, plus there is also on site parking (the first hours parking is free). Alternatively you can take the number 65 bus from Ealing Broadway or the centre is just a short walk from Kew Bridge or Brentford Train Stations.
Eating & Drinking
Watermans have the Guru Café open daily from 10am serving coffee and snacks, plus it is a licensed bar too. The Guru Tandoori Kitchen is a great place to relax afterwards for a meal.
The Nutcracker and The Mouse King is running from now until the 30th December 2017. Tickets can be purchased via the Watermans website.
Don’t forget to follow Watermans on social media to get regular updates on their programmes. The Spring 2018 programme is out now. Featuring the best in family theatre with some great shows coming up for February Half Term. Including John Hegley and Noggin the Nog. You can book for these shows now via the website.
I received complimentary tickets to the production in return for a review. All opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of the performance I saw.
There are so many activity classes for babies and toddlers available locally in Ealing, so as a Mum it can be overwhelming at times to decided which one to go for. One of the aims of my blog is to provide honest and useful reviews to help parents decide where they should take their children. This week I was thrilled to be asked along to a Monkey Music class. I was able to find out more about how music can benefit a young child’s development.
I met up with Helly Summerly, who is the Principal Teacher for the Ealing and Acton area. I was able to see for myself what went on in a Monkey Music class. On the day I visited at Ealing Green Church, I watched the Rock ‘N’ Roll class which is aimed at babies from 3 months up to 12 months.
The venue is perfect for this sort of class. The church has plenty of space for buggies and baby changing facilities. Plus the acoustics of the building made Helly’s voice sound even more beautiful! The special thing for me about Monkey Music is that not only are some of the songs original, but the teacher is singing along with the music and interacting with the children.
What really struck me was that Helly the Teacher made sure that every child was included and made a special effort to get them to engage with her. There were so many smiling happy faces both from the babies and the parents. I notice that the children naturally crawled towards Helly and I think that says a lot.
I loved the way Helly used puppets and bubbles to interact with the children and even brought in elements of the seasons. She was teaching the children about Autumn using paper leaves and a squirrel puppet. You could see the children absolutely loved it!
One of my favourite parts of the session was at the very end when Helly sang a goodbye song, it was lovely to see the children relaxing and calming down with their parents.
I can not recommend Monkey Music enough! I watched both children and parents really submerge themselves in to the world of music. I just wish Monkey Music had been around when my Daughter was this age!
Helly, could you tell me a bit about the background to Monkey Music?
The Monkey Music curriculum was written by Guildhall School of Music & Drama graduate Angie Coates, now Monkey Music’s Managing Director. Classes first opened in London in 1993 and Monkey Music’s popularity led to the company being franchised in 1998. More than 50 franchises currently operate in nearly 300 locations across the UK.
Specialist teachers are carefully chosen for their natural ability to communicate with and entertain young children and their carers, gently encouraging social and musical skills within a fun, stimulating and friendly environment.
How does music taught in groups benefit young children?
Early exposure to singing, listening to and playing music can sharpen up a whole range of educational skills. Language and numerical skills flourish through action songs and rhymes; fine motor skills are refined through playing hand held percussion instruments, while an awareness of space and one another is developed through movement. The children’s confidence and self-esteem grows rapidly as their involvement in the group increases.
What classes are available and what age groups are they suitable for?
Rock’n’Roll – from 3 months
Designed specifically for Mums, Dads and very young babies to share together.
During each class the babies and adults are engaged through gentle songs, fascinating sounds and absorbing activities.
Heigh-Ho – from 12 months
Young toddlers love being up on their feet so lots of dancing and moving encourages the children to explore the space around them and express the music they hear.
The children thrive on the ‘steady beat’ and are very enthusiastic young members of the Monkey Music band. Themed classes and bold colourful props captivate the children and encourage everyone to get involved.
Jiggety-Jig – 2 & 3 years
By this stage, children can really express the joy that music brings them. They sing, dance, play, move, tell stories, speak, and listen to music together.
Monkey Music teachers make sure that the children develop their sense of rhythm whilst playing in time to Monkey Music songs and games. Hoops, parachute games and circle dances are always popular Jiggety-Jig activities.
Ding-Dong – 3 & 4 years
Up until now the children have been listening and responding to music they hear. Now that their ears have been ‘finely tuned’ Monkey Music teaches them what music means when they see it written down.
Reading simple traditional musical notation comes easily to Monkey Music children as it is integrated into the final part of our interactive curriculum.
Helly can you tell me more about yourself and why you became involved with Monkey Music?
I first discovered Monkey Music when I was looking for music classes to take my own baby daughter to whilst I was on maternity leave. As a musician myself, I was keen to find something that incorporated key musical elements whilst also being enjoyable for my daughter. We went to our first Monkey Music class when she was just a few months old, and I was immediately impressed by the musical content of the classes we attended. And seeing the delight on my daughter’s face each week when we she recognised her favourite Monkey songs quickly made it the highlight of our week!
When the opportunity arose for me to take on my own Monkey Music franchise in Ealing and Acton, I realised I had found the perfect way to combine my passion for music and singing, with my love of babies and interest in the important role that music can play in child development. And it meant I could return to Ealing, where I had spent many happy years, to teach!
I am a trained classical singer, having studied at Oxford University where I held a choral scholarship. I have performed as a soloist with many of London’s leading chamber choirs, and feature on over 20 commercial recordings. I have performed on Radio 3 on several occasions and continue to give regular live performances (when I’m not busy teaching Monkey Music or being a Mum!) Before I had my daughter, I also pursued an International career in Marketing and Innovation, and was on the board of directors of a luxury toiletries company.
When and where are the classes?
Classes take place on Mondays at The Grange Pub and Dining Room, on Tuesdays at Ealing Green Church and on Wednesdays at St Paul’s, Playschool Hall.
The current term will end on the 15th December 2017. Helly is taking bookings now for the next term, which will start on the 8th January 2018. However, you are welcome to join part way through the term if you wish. Your first class is free and is a great way to find out if the class suits you and your child. Go to the Monkey Music Website for more information and timetables.
How can I book?
You can book via the website or you can contact Helly directly (see details below). Or alternatively you can book your first free class via the Hoop App.
Don’t forget to follow Monkey Music on social media and keep up to date with the latest classes and news!
Facebook: @MonkeyMusicEalingAndActon or for the nationwide page @monkeymusic
Helly Summerly can be contacted:
Tel: 020 3715 2634
This is a collaborative post.
Limeyard Resturant is situated in the food quarter of The Ealing Broadway Centre, so it is perfectly placed as a stop off after a busy afternoon’s shopping or for a weekend family meal. The relaxed dinning style means it is a great option when eating out with children. So let yourself be transported into an all day American Kitchen and soak up the Californian lifestyle for a while! Sunglasses are optional of course!
We visited early evening on a Saturday and were welcomed by the friendly staff. This meant that we could also take advantage of the Happy Hour promotion (which currently runs daily between 5-7pm). So you can buy one and get one free on selected cocktails! So I had the Frosé cocktail which is Rosé Wine, vodka, watermelon, strawberry and syrup, while my Hubby had a Mojito!
Limeyard offer a children’s menu. For £6.50 your child will be able to enjoy a two course meal and a drink, which I think is excellent value for money. They also provide an activities and colouring sheet to keep your little ones busy. There were stickers and even a lovely multi-coloured crayon, this went down really well!
I also want to point out that I noticed there was plenty of space for buggies and high chairs were available. The main toilets are upstairs, however baby changing facilities are on the ground floor level.
My Daughter went for the Buttermilk Chicken Fried Nuggets, which came with a healthy side of salad and corn on the cob. She really enjoyed her meal and actually said the nuggets were one of the most tasty she has had! For dessert she decided to choose the Brownie Sundae which wasn’t in the bowl for very long!
For my main meal I couldn’t resist the Limeyard BBQ board this consisted of: coca cola glazed ribs, BBQ mission street wings served with buttermilk onion wings, spicy house slaw and grilled corn. It was a very generous portion, the meat was good quality and overall I think this was one of my favourite main courses that I have had at Limeyard.
There was an excellent range of deserts and I decided upon the slow baked lemon and vanilla cheesecake, which came with a toasted coconut and blueberry compote. It was absolutely delicious I wasn’t disappointed!
I would definitely recommend Limeyard for a family meal. I found the staff to be attentive and very friendly towards us and our Daughter. I think if you are looking for a relaxed restaurant that serves good quality food then you should give it a try! They also serve breakfast too, so we will be giving that a try soon.
Don’t forget to follow Limeyard on social media to stay up to date with all their latest offers.
Disclosure: I was given a complimentory voucher by the restaurant for our meals. The above is an honest review of my experience and reflects my own opinions.
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.
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!
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.