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Ealing

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring! So now is the time to start thinking about updating your children’s wardrobe for the warmer weather which is on the horizon! Spring is my favourite time of year as I love to start dressing Amelia in pretty floral prints and bright colours. Children’s fashion is one of my passions, so  I have styled some gorgeous outfits, that are all available to purchase locally at The Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.

I don’t know about you, but I find this time of the year the perfect opportunity to go through my Daughter’s wardrobe. I like to take out any clothes she has grown out of or put away any items that are more suited to colder weather.

For this kids fashion review I have enlisted the help of Ben, who is my friend’s little boy. I wanted to show you some super cute boy’s fashion too!

Ben wears cotton printed short pyjamas £8.00 by Marks & Spencer.

This fun shark dressing gown is £15.00 and great for the mornings that are still a bit chilly!

 

 

H&M have some great value kids clothes. Ben wears a polo shirt £7.99 and skinny fit jeans £14.99.

Amelia is loving this pretty look also by H&M, sleeveless lace dress £9.99, demin jacket £14.99 and I think the floral headband at £2.99 finishes the outfit off.

Have you been into Cath Kidston yet in Ealing Broadway? Their range of children’s clothes are gorgeous and I particulary love this look that Ben is modelling! The London print theme and knitwear is so bright and colourful.

Ben wears the knitted tank top £28.00, Billie’s travels long sleeve shirt £20.00.

The London Streets Annual Teddy is in my opinion, a lovely gift for a new baby in 2018 – £12.00.

The matching backpack is again in the Billie’s Travels print priced at £25.00.

I love to dress Amelia in floral prints and this beautiful dress by Cath Kidston is perfect for a Spring walk in the park!

Amelia wears:

Island Bunch Square Neck Dress – £28.00

Scattered Rose Hair Clips – £4.00

Socks – £4.00

Scattered Rose Mini Rucksack – £18.00 to carry all the things a little girl needs for a day out!

To top it off this traditional ballerina rag doll.

My go to shop every since Amelia was born has always been Marks & Spencer. Amelia wears this pretty floral pure cotton prom dress £24.00, with a co-ordinating cotton frill sleeve cardigan in yellow £12.00 and face cross bar leather shoes £22.00.

Happy shopping!

This is a collaborative post with Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. As always all views and opinions are my own.

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The perfect rainy day activity this week, has been a wonderful children’s craft project decorating wooden Swedish Dala Horses. The weather so far for April has been pretty awful, so unfortunately we have had a few days this school holiday at home. So when Clas Ohlson asked us if we would like to get involved with their project as part of their 100th year birthday celebrations? I was literally chomping on the bit, excuse the pun!

So what you may ask is a Swedish Dala Horse? Well, according to Clas Ohlson…..

“It was in the small log cabins, deep in the forests of the Swedish Dalarna region, the the Dala horse was born. Using simple tools, nestled around a log fire, woodcarvers made these Dala horse toys for their children.

Clas Ohlson also begun life in the Dalarna region, so it’s no surprise that the Dala horse is special to us. When we open a Clas Ohlson store, each member of staff is given a commemorative Dala horse to mark the occasion.

The most famous Dala horse pattern, with its red, white, green, yellow and blue design, is believed to be 150 years old.”

So, as you can see from the look of concentration on Amelia’s face the art of Dala horse decorating was taken very seriously! We had a set of three different sized horses to paint and I joined in too! The first stage was to cover each horse in acrylic paint.

Once the first layer was dry we painted on patterns and then added a layer of glitter, or two or maybe three! We did get slightly carried away with the glitter and on this session I forgot to make Amelia wear her art overall, so we both got covered in glitter! I think perhaps our horses look slightly more like unicorns!

We had so much fun decorating the horses! I would highly recommend it as the perfect rainy day craft project!

All of the craft products we used can be purchased either in store or online at Clas Ohlson.

If you and your children would like to paint and decorate your very own Swedish Dala horse, then you are in luck! To celebrate their 100th Birthday Clas Ohlson will be running a FREE Dala horse decorating workshop this Thursday 12th April 2018 11am-2pm in The Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre! Plus those who take part will receive 20% off in the store on that day.

 

Disclaimer – This is collaborative post, however all views and opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the products.

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Yoga is something that I have only tried maybe once before in my life, so I was slightly apprehensive when I arrived for my first class at triyoga in Ealing. However, I need not had been worried because as soon as walked in the friendly reception staff made me feel welcome and gave me a show around. I particularly liked the computer check in system, which made for a speedy and efficient entrance!

I think we all know the immense benefits of practicing yoga for the mind, body and spirit, but for me this was a rare self-care opportunity. I felt almost liberated to put my mobile away in the locker and have a bit of me time for a while. I stepped away from my busy world and it felt great!

The studio is based in Dickens Yard, so is very central and easily accessible. There is on street parking nearby and only a few minutes’ walk from Ealing Broadway Station. triyoga also has studios in: Camden, Chelsea, Covent Garden, Shoreditch and Soho.

As soon as I entered the studio (I’m not sure if it was removing my shoes or the smell of incense), I felt relaxed. What I found with triyoga is that it is not just a yoga studio, but in some ways more a little community of its own.

I loved the fact that there is an on-site boutique selling everything yoga related from mats, to clothing to books. They also offer a range of complimentary therapies and treatments such as: reflexology, reiki, acupuncture, osteopathy, life coaching and cupping to name just a few.

Pregnancy yoga classes are available at the Ealing studio and there is also a Mummy and Me class (Dad’s welcome too) for parents and movement for babies from forty days to crawling.

There is an onsite café CPress serving fresh healthy organic food, coffee and cold pressed juices. The area is a peaceful relaxed place to sit down after your yoga session to enjoy lunch or a snack. Or perhaps meet up with some friends!

I’m not sure if it is standard in many yoga studios, but I absolutely loved the fact that the floor was heated. I went into the ladies changing area and was happy to see there was enough space to get changed comfortably, plenty of lockers, toilets and a shower (this might be well needed if you op for a hot yoga session)! Plus it was very clean too!

Children are welcome at triyoga, my Daughter was over the moon to try one of the classes. Classes are broken down in to the following age groups. Ages 4-6 years, 7-9 years, 10-12 years and teenagers.

While she was in the class, I had a coffee in the café and afterwards she said she couldn’t wait for the next class! Relaxed and chilled out is how I would describe her mood afterwards. I can definitely see the benefits for this sort of class after a busy day at school!

 

 

My Top Tips are:

  • My main piece of advice for the adult classes would be to do your research on which class you should start off with. If you are not sure perhaps discuss the various options with the staff. I made the mistake of booking myself in for what I am told is one of the most challenging classes Astanga Yoga! I did manage to participate in some of this class, but I did find it differcuilt to keep up at times!
  • The other classes I did were: Yoga Level 1 and Yoga Gentle Open. I would recommend these for beginners. Simply before the teachers were understanding and happy for me to go at my own pace.
  • I would also say don’t be afraid to ask for help if you can’t get in the right position or find something uncomfortable. I was really pleased to find there are lots of adjustments that can be made for someone like me who has lower back problems. There is always the use of optional belts, blocks or extra blankets to help your positioning.
  • Do take a bottle of water, especially if you attending a hot yoga session. There are water fountains available if you need to top up.
  • Try not compare yourself to others. I saw people of all abilities, some of those were getting into positions that there is no way at this stage that I could achieve! Don’t forget some people have been practicing yoga for many years.
  • Don’t feel like you need to wear fancy yoga clothes. I saw plenty of people in leggings and t-shirts. Maybe invest in some key pieces later down the line.

Overall I found triyoga to be a lovely venue, purpose built for yoga and the staff could not do enough to help me.

I hope to go back soon and try out some other classes. They currently have an offer where you can have 30 days of unlimited yoga, mat pilates and barre for £54. This is for new customers only and terms and conditions apply. Check out the website for more details.

Image courtesy of triyoga
Image courtesy of triyoga

This is a collaborative post. triyoga gifted me a number of free classes in return for a review. However, all opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of how I found the studio.

Featured image is courtesy of triyoga.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Email: admin@harvingtonschool.com

Phone: 020 8997 1583

20 Castlebar Road

Ealing

W5 2DS

 

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.

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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.

 

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The Christmas season is a time when families enjoy many different traditions and mine is no different. We love the big build up to Christmas and enjoy all the preparation involved. This year I have done a lot of my shopping locally in Ealing, as I have found that I have been able to fit it around my work schedule and the school run. I was delighted when I heard that Cath Kidston would be opening a new store in Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, just in time for Christmas! The new store is next door to Wasabi and opposite to Marks and Spencer. I was there on the day the new store opened and couldn’t wait to start my Christmas shopping!

In our house we like to open a couple of presents on Christmas Eve. I think that way you can enjoy a few small gifts the night before. On Christmas Day it can be a bit over whelming for children (and adults!) as there is so much going on.

I often like to buy some new nightwear for Christmas Eve. I couldn’t resist getting us matching PJ’s (we did it last year too). The Christmas cushions are a great way to make your bedroom or lounge look more festive!

Ladies snowman brushed flannel long PJ set – £55.00

Kids snowman PJ set – £25.00

Polar bear sack – £12.00

Polar bear cushion – £12.00

Snowman cushion – £12.00

We always have a stockings for both children as well as adults! I enjoy choosing the stocking fillers and like to include smaller more personal items. This year Cath Kidston have a lovely range of smaller gifts which are perfect stocking fillers. These are the items I decided upon:

Pets party 6 pack pencils – £4.50

Ballerina kids diary – £6.00

Junior metallic clasp purse – £8.00

Lucky rose kids two pack hair bows – £5.50

I always like to have a relaxed breakfast on Christmas Day, usually smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is on the menu. Cath Kidston does some lovely china wear and there is nothing like making a pot of tea and relaxing on Christmas morning while watching the children unwrapping their presents!

Alphabet mugs – £7.50

Pets party teapot – £28.00

I always enjoy choosing a special outfit for my Daughter for Christmas day. I absolutely love this floral print dress. I think it makes an adorable Christmas day outfit if you wanted an alternative to a Christmas print or jumper.

Northcote flower dropped waist dress – £26.00

Junior medium double zip rucksack – £28.00

Hankie Rose fairy rag doll – £18.00

What traditions do you have in your family for Christmas? Let me know in the comments, I would love to know!

This is a collaborative post.

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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

Twitter: @MonkeyMusicNews

Instagram: @monkeymusicuk

Helly Summerly can be contacted:

Email: helly.summerly@monkeymusic.co.uk

Tel: 020 3715 2634

Monkey and related products such as Cd’s, books and t-shirts are available to purchase so you continue the fun at home!

This is a collaborative post.

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