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Family

It’s time to get organised, the Summer Holidays are coming to an end soon! So parents we need to be thinking uniforms, shoes and stationary! I’m not a fan of shopping at the last minute, as for me this adds even more stress to the already high pressure of finding the right sizes and fit. So save yourself the headache of the last minute rush and head on down to Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre where you will find all you need for Back to School 2018!

M&S School have some great quality uniforms and accessories to kit your kids out, for a competitive price. Many of their products feature extra benefits such as easy iron, stay new technology and stain resistant material. As we all know how hard it is to keep kids clothes looking stain and crease free!

Amelia wears:

Dress, benefits include: stain resistant, easy to iron, machine wash, tumble dry, PFC free – £10

Grey Cardigan Stay New, responsibly sourced cotton, machine wash, tumble dry, PFC free – £10

Hair Accessories – Navy pack (includes X2 hair ties, X2 clips and alice band) – £5

They also offer a great range of school shoes too! This cute pair which features little diamonté detail which put a smile on my Daughter’s face! Other features include FreshFeet, which keeps their feet fresher for longer, breathable lining, coated leather and scuff resistance too! – £26

M&S have lots of sports wear available too. Again at very resonable prices.

Cycle shorts, 2 pairs active sport collection, machine wash, tumble dry, PFC free – £10

Polo shirts 2 pack, stain resistant, responsibly sourced cotton, machine wash, tumble dry, PFC free – £9

Cotton rich socks, 5 pairs, Cool & FreshFeet reinforced heals and toes – £7

Smiggle has so many great school bags suitable for all ages, plus a huge variety of colourful stationary too!

Amelia loves this junior bunny backpack  – £26.50, which has the following features:

  • 3 zipped compartments main compartment with double zip
  • Inner compartment fits A4 notebook
  • Dual drink bottle sleeves
  • Padded adjustable shoulder straps
  • Carry handle
  • Internal name label
  • W 25cm x H 36.5cm x D13cm

Don’t forget your stationary and other school essentials. Check out Clas Ohlson range of stationary and pick up some other useful products from Superdrug too.

Sticky Notes Cube £1.99

Sticky notes set – £3.99

X6 Highlighter Pens – £2.99

Triangular Scale Ruler 15cm – £2.99

Casio Calculator- £14.99

A5 lined Planets notebook – £2.99

Plain notebook A5- £2.99

A4 Magazine rack – £5.99

Bic Pen – £4.99

Be ready for any sniffles or colds that they are bound to pick up when back at school, stock up at Superdrug

TLC Chewy vites Calcium & Vitamin D3 – £3.99

Blister Plasters – £3.79

Pocket Tissues 12 pack – £1.50

Paracetamol Caplets – £0.45

Nail Clippers & Scissors set – £2.49

Would you like to WIN this gorgeous backpack from Smiggle? Well, head over to my Instagram, all you have to do is follow me and Ealing Shopping, plus tag a friend and you could be sending your little one off to school with this super cute backpack! Terms and conditions apply, see my Instagram post for full details.

Image by Smiggle

This is post is a collaboration with Ealing Broadway Shopping.

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It’s getting to that time of year when we are looking forward to our Summer Holidays. The holiday is booked, you’re checked your passport is still in date and you have treated yourself to a new bikini, but have you thought about how to keep you and your family safe and well at your choosen destination? When I’m not working on my blog I also work as a Practice Nurse and have a qualification in Travel Health. I spend some of my clinic time advising patients on how to stay well abroad. So, I’m going to give you a quick run down on some of the essential items you should be packing in your suitcase this Summer. I have picked up all of these items at The Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. So if you are about to jet off, then you can head down there to pick up your last minute essentials!

One of the most common complaints travellers often have when travelling abroad is suffering with diahorerra and vomitting. This often caused by poor hand hygiene and occasionally food posioning, but did you know that it can be simply down to dehydration? So how to avoid it? Always carry hand gel and anti-bacterial wipes, avoid shellfish, ice cream, unpeeled fruit and vegetables and ice in your drinks. Also avoid street food and always drink bottled water that has an intact seal. Make sure you take some rehydration powders like Dioralyte or a similar brand.

Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and sunburn can be another major issue. Keep well hydrated and avoid the sun at peak times. Cover up and wear sunglasses and a hat. Wear sunscreen of a at least 15 SPF to protect against UVB and at least 4 star UVA. Pay particular attention to applying sunscreen to babies and young children. Don’t forget about using lip screen also. Think about taking some aftersun lotion too, to ensure your skin stays well moisturised and to avoid peeling skin.

Mosquito bites and malaria are another major consideration. Think about the country you are visiting and if there is a risk of Malaria. You can check a website like Fit for Travel for up to date advice on various destinations. The best way to ensure that you are correctly protected against Malaria is to either have a consultation with your Practice Nurse/GP or seek advice from your local Pharmacist as they can advice you on which anti-malaria medication to take. Cover up in the evenings and use an insect repellant that contains at least 50% DEET. Think about alternative for young children and babies as the chemicals in these products may not be safe for their skin. You can also buy mosquito nets.

Accidents on holiday are common and in most cases could be avoided. When arriving in your accommodation, have a good look around for any potential hazards, especially with young children in mind. It could be low open windows, exposed plug sockets, balconies ect.. Also check the depth of the swimming pool and make sure there is no way your children can access the pool on there own. Try to have to hand the contact number of your holiday rep if things were to go wrong and the contact details of a local reputable health clinic.

Regarding holiday vaccinations, it is always best practice to go and speak to your Practice Nurse/GP, however some local Pharmacies like Boots and Superdrug also offer Travel Health services. For your children do make sure that they are up to date with all their routine childhood vaccinations. There are of course vaccinations that are recommended for certain parts of the world, ideally you would want to get these vaccinations completed 4-6 weeks prior to travel. Again you can check on the following websites Fit For Travel  and Gov.com also have helpful information listed country by country on any health outbreaks or potential risks to tourists.

It is always a good idea to take a supply of items that you would usually keep in your medical cabinet at home. That way if you or your family suddenly becomes unwell you have items to hand. Plus in a non-English speaking country it may be hard to convey what you are after, So here is my list:

  • Suncream Adults at least SPF 30 – waterproof
  • Suncream Kids SPF waterproof SPF 50
  • Aftersun
  • Bite & sting antihistamine cream
  • Priton allergy tablets
  • Insect repellant spray – 50% DEET
  • Mosquito plug in device
  • Travel first aid kit – containing a variety of plasters/bandages and tape
  • Dioralyte – for rehydration
  • Loperamide tablets
  • Paracetamol sachets for children
  • Ibuprofen sachets for children
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Anti-bacterial gel
  • Adult lip screen
  • Kids lip screen
  • Paracetamol tablets
  • Ibuprofen tablets
  • In ear thermometer

This post is in no way meant to be a replacement for medical advice. If you have any concerns or questions about your health please seek advice from your Doctor or GP. 

Disclaimer: This is collaborative post with Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.

 

 

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The Goat Chelsea is a great place to go for a child friendly Sunday Lunch. Not only do they offer a lovely contemporary Italian inspired menu, but they have entertainment for the kids at their Kids Club Sunday from 12-3pm. So, you might actually be able to enjoy your meal without the usual interruptions that you would normally expect with kids! There is no extra charge for the entertainment, but I suggest that you book a table to avoid disappointment, as it is very popular.
The entertainer is based in a private dinning room on the lower ground floor of the restaurant, which is great because that way you don’t feel as if your child is disturbing other diners who may not have children. On this particular Sunday my Daughter was entertained by Froggle Parties Professionals. The friendly man was dressed as Train Conductor and performed an array of magic tricks and jokes. Amelia enjoyed it so much we had to convince her to come back upstairs and have her lunch! She also left with some party bag gifts and a candy cane that the entertainer modeled from balloons especially for her!
They offer a great children’s menu which definitely suited my little one’s taste buds. She decided on the chicken goujons coated in panko breadcrumbs with broccoli and fries and to finish with chocolate brownies and geleto.
I was impressed with the overall menu and decided to go with the truffled macaroni and cheese to start with. I went for a Devon crab salad for my main. I finished with a delicious stick toffee pudding and vanilla gelato. I also sampled one of their cocktails which was inspired by the Chelsea Flower show, it was fantastic in both taste and presentation.
I would thoroughly recommend The Goat to families. I also noticed they have highchairs available and baby changing facilities too. It’s the perfect place to go if you want a leisurely lunch with the kids. The staff made us feel very welcome and could not do enough for us. We can’t wait to go back soon!
Disclosure 
This review was first published on City Kids West. I was given a complimentary meal in return for a review. All views are my own and are an honest reflection of the my experience on the day.
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I recently attended The Baby Show, the headline sponsor was Made For Mums at ExCel London. I had an amazing time and wanted to share with you who I met and some of my top tips for surviving a busy day at a huge event like The Baby Show! Plus, I have an great Easter competition for you to enter. You can win a really gorgeous Easter Basket from Nibbling containing a dummy clip, Bibetta bib from the new Annabel Karmel range and a Jellycat bunny! If you would like to enter all the details are are the bottom of this post, good luck!Who is the Baby Show for?

I would say it is the ideal event to attend if you are pregnant, having a new baby, but also great for Mums with younger children too! It is the perfect opportunity to actually see and try out lots of different baby and parenting brands all under one roof. It’s also an event to attend if you would like to hear some well known leading experts speak about various parenting topics.

Getting There

ExCeL London has excellent transport links. The best way to get there is via the DLR and you can use either Custom House or Prince Regent stations. There is plenty of on site parking too if you want to drive.

My Top Tips for surviving your day!

  • ExCel London is a huge venue so be prepared to do a lot of walking (So I would recommend extra comfortable shoes!)
  • Inside there is a great range of café and restaurants, so you will be spoilt for choice when you need to take a break!
  • I would really advice dropping all your coats and bags that you don’t need at the cloak room, because you are going to need free hands for all the shopping you will be doing!
  • When attending an event like this is a really good idea to check out the exhibitors list before the day, that way you can make a plan of the stands you really want to visit. Otherwise you can end up missing some of the important ones.
  • I think it is worth making time to enter some of the competitions that are offer at events like this. I have read that the odds to win these types of competitions are very good.
  • Some events will have a shop & drop facility, which is super useful if you do make some purchases which are heavy. At this event Emma’s Diary offered a handy service to look after your bags for you and can even help you collect them from a pick up point in the car park!

Here’s my run down of some of the great brands I met on the day. Some of them are probably brands you will have come across before, but I also met people from up and coming companies and some smaller boutique brands too.

Lily and Fred is a lovely online boutique which stocks some really original gifts and children’s clothes. Perfect if you are looking for something a bit different!

Cuddledry has a full range of products perfect to keep your little ones warm and dry after their bath. I particularly love their topknot head towel, it solves the problem of wet PJ’s post bath.

Babease Their organic baby food pouches are a great convient way to feed your baby on the go. They pride themselves on producing products that are natural and free from extra additives. There are lots of different flavours which are ideal for first tastes, plus they offer a more textured range too, as your baby progresses.

I was excited to see a new brand called Good Bubble they make naturally-derived and organic toiletries for babies and children. I even got to met the founder Amy Wordsworth. We had a chat all about how she came to decide to launch the brand. Plus how she was featured on Dragons Den and gained investment from Deborah Meaden!

I absolutely loving the new range Good Bubble has collaborated with The Gruffalo, which uses extract of  super fruit prickly pear with avocado and coconut oil.

I have previously worked with Bibetta, as they were kind enough to support one of my local Ealing parent events. I was really lucky as I happened to be at their stand when Annabel Karmel dropped by to do a photo shoot with the new bibs that been designed in collaboration with Bibetta.

I even got to have a quick chat with Annabel Karmel herself!

What I really enjoyed were the talks from leading industry experts. My tip here is to really have a good look at the show topics and times. Otherwise potentially you will miss the talks that you are interested in. I managed to catch Binky from Made In Chelsea.  I was really pleased to have the opportunity to hear her talk, as I  enjoyed watching her recent television series Born in Chelsea, about her journey of becoming a Mum.

Binky has set up her own Mother’s Retreat called the Mummy Tribe, which I think is a really innovative idea!

Lastly I was really excited to hear Annabel Karmel gave her top tips on weaning. I thought what she had to say made a lot of sense. Plus, it was really interesting to hear her story on how she initially set up her own business. She explained that when she wrote her first book numerous publishers rejected her. However, she persisted with her version to help other Mums feed their children and in the end has become a best selling author! So for me her story was so inspirational!

The next Baby Show will be on the 18-20th May 2018 at the NEC Birmingham or if you are in the London area the next one will be 19th-21st October at Olympia.

Would you like to WIN this great Easter prize? How about this exclusive Easter basket by Nibbling. One lucky winner will receive: a Jellycat bunny, Nibbling dummy clip and the new Annabel Karmel designed ultra bib by Bibetta. So head over to my Instagram page to enter! The Competition closes on the 18th March 2018.

I purchased tickets for The Baby Show myself and this post is in no way sponsored by The Baby Show. All views and opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of my visit.

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My family and I have been going to Winter Wonderland every year since it first opened in 2007. Over the years it has become a place that we always visit, as the build up to Christmas begins. It started off 10 years ago as an ice rink in Hyde Park with a selection of Christmas markets. It has grown over the years to become a destination to visit and I know many families who have made their visit part of their holiday traditions.

Winter Wonderland is open every day (expect Christmas Day) from 10am to 10pm until the 1st January 2018. Admission is free and is a short walk from the following underground stations: Green Park (this has step free access useful to know if you have a pushchair), Paddington, Victoria, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge. I usually avoid getting off at Marble Arch as this can be a very busy station.

This year there is so much more to do! It is definitely worth picking up one of the free maps available, as the site it’s self is now a lot bigger. Or alternately why not get familiar with what is available before you go via the website, that way you can plan which attractions you really want to visit. The Winter Wonderland website also has a handy feature where they have suggestions for various days and evenings out. Perfect if you are going with children or alternatively for a romantic date night!

There are so many amazing rides to try out. Remember you will need to purchase tokens which are available to buy from the various token booths on site. Make sure you use up all the ones you have brought, as they are only valid on the day of purchase. Each token costs £1.00, so to give you an idea of the cost children’s rides start at £2.00, with other rides starting at £3.00. With some of the children’s rides you will need to accompany your child, so do factor in that too.

There are a number of pre-bookable attractions including: The Ice Rink, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella On Ice, Bar Hütte, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Beserk, Bar Ice and the Sooty Show. It is worth booking these shows as soon as you can, that way you can get the times and dates you want. My top tip would be make sure you allow extra time to get to the right part of The Winter Wonderland. As if you are attending a show, it will depend on which entrance you enter at, as it can be fair walk with little ones in tow!

This year we went to the Sooty Christmas Show and I am not sure who enjoyed it more? Myself or my Daughter! I think it goes back to the fact that when I was a child Sooty and Sweep were very popular and I remember going to see them (yes I am a child of the 1970’s!), so at that time Matthew Corbett was the puppeteer. The show this time hosted by Richard Cadell. It was very much the simple slap stick humour that I remember from my childhood. There was plenty of water pistol action and silly jokes. My Daughter couldn’t stop laughing and neither could I!

I would throughly recommend this show to families with children from toddlers up to around 6 years old. The show lasts approximately 45 minutes, so a really good length of time for children of this age group. An adult ticket is priced at £8.50 and a child ticket is £5.00. Children of 2 and under if they are not taking up a seat will not need a ticket.

We also went to Zippos Christmas Circus, which was an excellent family experience. Incorporating all the fun of the circus, from comedy with clown like characters to acts that perform acrobatics to escapism. Again a really managable length for young children the show lasted approximately 45 minutes. Ticket prices vary according to if it is peak or off peak times.

My Daughter particularly loved the dancing snow bears, courtesy of Britain’s Got Talent finalist Vadik and the Bears.

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking at the Winter Wonderland. There are so many options to choose from including plenty of indoor areas for when it get’s chilly. I particularly loved the atmosphere in the Bavarian village. You just can’t go wrong with a hotdog and a mulled wine to get you in the festive spirit!

We are planning another visit in-between Christmas and New Year, as there are still lots more things we would like to experience!

I received complimentary tickets to the shows and some rides in return for a review. All opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of my recent visit.

 

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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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Some people might think that we have too many charity shops around Ealing, however they provide so many key functions within the local community. Not only are they giving a source of income to many worthwhile causes but they are also offering some people unpaid or paid work and of course encouraging us a society to re-use our clothes, shoes, books and numerous other items.

I love having a rummage through the rails as you never know what you might find, plus I always like to support our local shops and regularly donate toys and clothes that my Daughter has grown out of.

Here are my top tips for bagging a bargain at the charity shop.

  • Make a trip to your favourite shop on a regular basis. Be persistant the more you drop in the more likely your will find a real gem! Try to go at different times too as the staff might have just put some items out.
  • You really do need to invest some time if you are looking for that great find. So do have a good look through all the rails and dig a bit deeper.
  • Make sure you inspect your items carefully for damage, as your great buy may not be such a bargain if it has marks or stains. However most shops do have a returns policy.
  • Consider making a trip out to another nearby well healed area to visit a few charity shops. Ok the prices might be a bit higher but you will find higher quality labels. Our top places to go are: Barnes, Fulham, Notting Hill and Richmond.
  • Take a look at the fabric even if you don’t reconise the label if you spot something that is pure cashmere or silk it might be worth the buy.

 

  • This is my pick of the best charity shops in Ealing
  • Fara Ealing Kids  at 18 The Green, W5 5DA. This great little shop stocks everything from clothes, maternity wear, books, toys and buggies. Why buy brand new? When you can pick up a top quality bargain here! Plus the shop is open 7 days a week.
  • Mary’s Living and Giving Shop – Save The Children at 2 The Green, W5 2DA. Now one of my friends once walked past this shop and because the clothes looked so top quality she actually thought it was a boutique shop and not a charity shop! So this well presented shop is the place to go if you are looking for a higher end label. I have recently spotted outfits by: Hobbs, Whistles, LK Bennett, Reiss, Phase Eight and even some higher end designer labels. Their lovely window displays always catches my eye as I walk past and it seems that the staff there are a dab hand at creating a complete outfit including shoes and handbag to match.
  • Oxfam Bookshop  at 1 The Green, W5 5DA and you will also find just further down the road Oxfam Music & Audio. Both these shop are great for browsing and you will find some rare and collectables items too. Both shops stock children’s items and I have found some great used books and DVD’s at less than half the price you would pay new.
  • British Heart Foundation at 59 The Broadway, W13 9PB this is a great all round charity shop and I have noticed that occasionally there have been some really lovely ceramics and homeware items here. If you are looking for this type of thing the ones to go for are: Denby, Spode, Royal Doulton and Royal Worcester. I once found some lovely Beatrice Potter children’s china here too. So don’t be put off by the sometimes funny fusty smells of charity shops! Take a look and who knows what hidden treasure you might find?
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