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Family

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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