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Ealing

 

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

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

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

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

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

Do you still work in the NHS? 

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

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

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

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

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

What sort of topics do you cover in your courses?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you see Baby Steps going in the future?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @bobscafes

Facebook @bobscafes

Instagram @bobscafes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuddle Fairy
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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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I would like to introduce to you to what we think is a real up and coming area of Ealing and that is St Mary’s Road. Over the past year I have noticed more and more local businesses springing up. Some people even call it “St Mary’s Village” and rightly so because I think it really does have that village atmosphere and community spirit to it. So here is my spotlight guide to where to go in this beautiful little part of Ealing.

Looking for your coffee fix?

Well you have a couple of choices here, my favourites are:

The originally named Moon and Maybe has a gorgeous styled interior, friendly helpful staff and best of all a little secret garden at the back. All we need now is the weather to enjoy this beautiful little spot! The coffee served here was spot on and I really enjoyed the toasted panini they serve up here. I must say we didn’t see any children while we were in there, but I see no reason why this venue would not be child friendly.

My next coffee top spot would be Munsons, this has been an Ealing coffee institution for some time now. Excellent coffee, cakes and pastries, plus for the up coming Spring/Summer months it is a great place to sit outside the front and watch the world go by.

On the look out for original gifts?

Well, look no further perhaps you have walked past this place on your way to South Ealing Tube and wondered what this shop is? Made In Venezuela is a boutique shop selling various crafts, arts and clothing all made in Venezuela. I really like the ethos of this shop as the owners are supporting locally people in this third world country, which means that if you buy from this shop you are supporting local people.

 

Looking for a tasty meal?

The Walpole established in 2001 and said to be Marco Pierre White’s favourite restaurant. It might be open only on Fridays and Saturday nights for Dinner, but is well worth the wait!

Looking for some tasty French food?

Here you can find a little bit of France right here in Ealing! The French Gourmet store opened it’s doors late last year and continues to supply the residents of Ealing with all the best produce direct from France.

Lastly are you looking for a Vegan meal?

Newly open Vegan HQ will have your taste buds watering. With everything Vegan all under one roof, plus they are child and dog friendly too! You will find them serving up fast food, coffee and even sell a selction of groceries also. We are told it is the first organic vegan coffee shop in West London.

You can follow Vegan HQ on Intagram @veganhquk

I hope you enjoyed my little tour around South Ealing’s St Mary’s Road. Look out for another spotlight feature soon!

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So Jane, what did you do before you took over the business? 

My journey begun like so many other mothers I was juggling lots of different ventures. When my children were younger I started out with the Body Shop selling products via home parties. I have always had a creative side and started making jewellery from home which developed into selling at craft fairs. I also gained a regular income from piano teaching. This enable me to be flexible and work around my children.

How did you become involved with All Original?

I was involved from the start when Catherine the previous owner set up the business. I actually came up with the name four years ago. I initially rented a shelf to sell my jewellery and always enjoyed the creative design aspect of working in the shop, such as putting together the window displays. I could see the potential of the business and was given first refusal to buy it.

What changes have you made since taking over the business?

Since becoming the owner I have given the shop a re-fresh. Moving the counter to give a more open environment, improving the lighting with LED’s to focus on the displays, new shelving, plus creating a very visual written interpretation of what the shop’s ethos is. I have also introduced ten new designers.

What have you kept the same?

The focus is still very much on finding original products that are UK based, handmade and on a small scale. I always wanted to support individuals who are creating artisan products from their own homes. I want the products to have a story behind them, something unique that you are not going to see everywhere.

Why do you think businesses like All Original are so important?

It is hugely important it is what the people of Ealing want. Rumbles gift shop closed down and went online on the 14th February 2017, which is a big loss to the community. Shopping locally keeps our high streets unique.

What makes you proud about your business?

It is the unique talent that we have found, and that we are supporting artisan designers and building our business upon it.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

I want All Original to be the destination in Ealing to find the perfect gift. And to keep sourcing new talent. Maybe another All Original opening somewhere else, watch this space!

All Original can be found at: 20 The Green, Ealing, W5 5DA. Open 10:00-18:00 daily and Sundays 11:00-16:00

Follow All Original on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @alloriginal2017

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