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I’ve always had a love of reading ever since I was a young child and I still have my nose in a book a lot of the time now too. I’m always keen to encourage my Daughter Amelia to love books too. This Easter I have teamed up with Waterstones, at Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre to give you a run down on my top five books to get the kids reading this Easter. To hopefully spend less time on electronic devices! Plus, I have a competition over on my Instagram for you to enter. You could win a £10 Waterstones voucher, plus four top kids titles get you going, the prize is worth £38! Head over to my Instagram now to enter!

My First recommendation has been a firm favourite with my Daughter and the stories always keep her coming back for more. Aimed at children of the between the ages of 4-6 years old. There are a variety of Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam Stories. This one is entitled The Cat Burglar, by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton.

“Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam have swapped a life of crime for baking cakes in their cafe. But now there’s a new robber in town – the infamous Kitty-le-Claw! When there’s a midnight robbery at the bank, can the two baker dogs save the day?”

My next suggestion is The winner of Watermans Children’s Book Prize 2019. The Boy at the Back of the Class, by Onjali Q. Rauf. I would say it is suitable for children aged 7 years and up. It might be a book that you could also read to your children, but it could be suitable for them to read to themselves depending on their reading ability.

“A story of friendship, hope and the importance of kindness, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a story full of heart and humour, told from a unique perspective. Featuring illustrations from Pippa Curnick, this is an exceptional book by an emerging voice in children’s writing.”

You can’t go wrong with Charlie Changes Into a Chicken, by Sam Copeland.

“Charlie McGuffin tries to be an optimist, but in reality he’s a bit of a worrier.

Some of the things Charlie is worried about:

  • His brother (who is in hospital)
  • Their very panicked parents
  • Unwanted attention from the school bully
  • The fact that he’s started turning into animals!

Even though every kid wants a superhero power, Charlie isn’t keen on turning into a pigeon in the middle of the school play.

But what happens if he does? Will he get sent away for Science to deal with? Will his parents crack under the extra stress?

With the help of his three best friends, Charlie needs to find a way of dealing with his crazy new power – and fast!”

 

We also love Lightning Girl by Alesha Dixon. It’s great to see a superhero that is a girl for a change!

My inspiration to create a superhero called Lightning Girl began with wanting my young daughter to feel empowered. It’s been a dream to create a strong role model that any child can look up to – I want my readers to see themselves in Aurora.” – Alesha Dixon

The winner of the Waterstones Children Book Prize for older children. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adyemi, is suitable for Teens.

“Magnificent from the off, Adeyemi’s richly drawn world is a breath of fresh air in Teen and Young Adult fantasy. Written with seemingly endless reserves of imagination, our booksellers were captivated by this distinctive and exhilarating novel, which is all at once fearless, immersive, emotional and cinematic beyond its pages. This poignant debut has more than enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and reading late into the night.” – Florentyna Martin, Waterstones Children’s Buyer

Don’t forget your local Ealing Waterstones has something for all ages and abilities of reading. They have an excellent section for younger children and a wide range of picture books.

Also, if you are going away over Easter and need some activities to keep the kids entertained on a long journey, you can’t go wrong with a sticker book and Waterstones currently have a buy one get one half price offer.

They also have a great range of toys and gifts too! If you have a birthday party coming up.

I hope you have a very Happy Easter and enjoying encouraging your child to read or read with them!

Don’t forget your Ealing Waterstones has it’s very own social media accounts, so follow them if you want to find out what’s going on locally.

Twitter: @WstonesEaling

Facebook: @WaterstonesEalingBroadway

Disclaimer – (AD) This post is a paid collaboration with Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre and I was gifted the above products from Waterstones in return for a review.

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Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery – A Family Afternoon Out In Ealing

March 17, 2019
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Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery finally re-opened it’s doors this weekend in Ealing, after being closed for three years while the Grade-1 listed building underwent refurbishment. Once the country home of British architect Sir John Soanes. Built between 1800 and 1804 it is a stunning example of architecture of this time. The opening has been eagerly awaited by the people of Ealing, West London. For many months the building has been shrouded by hoardings and I have often walked past to try to get an glimpse of what has been going on. So I was thrilled to be some of the first members of the public to venture into this stunning building this weekend!

I am over the moon that here in Ealing we have somewhere to view amazing pieces of art on our doorsteps. The exhibition area intends to have three different artists presenting their work over the next twelve months. Currently, Anish Kapoor is showing his work until the 18th August 2019.

Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery – Ealing

I am also so glad that Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery will be providing space for local families to engage in creative activities and other workshops suitable for adults too. This addition to Ealing will make our area even more well known as place for families and help our community to grow.

The house is really interesting to walk around and there is plenty to learn about it’s history and of course how the refurbishment was completed. Amelia particularly enjoyed dressing up in some costumes that were available!

In the Upper Drawing Room the beautiful wallpaper really is spectacular! Within this room there is an opportunity for children to play with wooden blocks and other interactive hands on toys. While parents can sit and marvel at this stunning room!

Heading downstairs to the Gallery area, which was once Ealing Lending Library and dates from 1939. You can enjoy Anish Kapoor’s exhibition in this amazing light space.

Anish Kapoor’s Exhibition at Pitzhanger Manor & Art Gallery – Ealing

These pieces of art are really breathtaking and transport you into another world of mirrors and light. It’s hard to really get a full appreciation of Anish Kapoor’s work without actually seeing them, so I highly recommend that you go and see them for yourself. My Daughter Amelia found them fascinating, as I’m sure most children would!

Finally on your way out don’t forget to visit the shop. Selling lots of lovely gifts and some locally produced products too. Including Pitzhanger honey and cards by local artist Charlotte Berridge.

Information to help plan your visit

Address: Mattock Lane, Ealing, W5 5EQ

Admissions and bookings

Go to the website

Opening Hours see below

Ticket prices

Adult tickets start at £7.70, with a reduction in price for Ealing residents priced at £4.95. The ticket price includes entry to the house and gallery.

Children from 0-17 years are free of charge, there are various other concessions, so please see the website for full details.

You can also join as a member which will give you free unlimited entry, plus many other benefits.

Ealing residents can also visit for free on Tuesday and Sunday mornings.

Accessibility 

The whole building is accessible to wheelchairs and buggies.

What’s on

There are so many events planned at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery coming up over the next few months. I’m especially looking forward to some of the family activities they have planned. Including: Upcycled Easter Baskets & Disco Eggs, Chocolate Easter Egg Workshop, Little Builders: The Great Materials Hunt, May Half-Term: Mystical Mirrors and stories and Open House Families to name a few.

You can pick up a copy of the What’s On Guide at the Manor or find out more details over on their website.

If you enjoyed this blog post then, why not have a read of one of my other posts? Ealing 135 Group – Local Parenting Support & Events

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Honest Burger Ealing – Eating Out With The Kids

March 4, 2019
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Honest Burger Ealing is slightly different to other burger restaurants, founders Phil Eeles and Tom Barton started Honest Burger back in 2010. They wanted to offer burgers made from high quality ingredients.  “British beef patties are made in our own butchery and homemade rosemary chips cut and cooked daily. Every restaurant serves local beers from neighbouring breweries, and many restaurants serve local burgers using ingredients from nearby food heroes.” I was really pleased to see that this restaurant uses cheese from local Cheddar Deli in Northfields Avenue and serves beers from Werid Beard Brew Co. I think it is brilliant to see a business like this supporting local small businesses in the Ealing area. If you are eating out with the kids in Ealing, I think you will find this restaurant to be child friendly. They have a kids menu, colouring to keep them occupied and if you arrive early evening the restaurant isn’t too busy. The staff we came across seemed to be used to welcoming children and were very accommodating. You must check out the chalk board at the back of the restaurant, you are encouraged to leave comments and let the staff know what you thought of the burgers!

I loved the relaxed dinning style at Honest Burger. The menu is simple and they offer a good value children’s menu. The mini burgers come with rosemary salted chips (you can request no salt if you like), and all cost £5.50 with any juice. Amelia really enjoyed her meal and polished off the lot! So it was a big thumbs up from her.

I love a Gin and Tonic, so I was really pleased to find Honest Burger’s homemade Gin & Tonic on the menu! Served with with Psychopomp, cucumber and dill favoured. It’s exclusive to Honest Burger and a really refreshing drink. They also serve a range of cocktails too, if you fancy something a bit different. Local craft beer is on the menu too, as is a range of ciders, wines and soft drink options too.

If you are looking for something a bit special you can’t go wrong with the Cheese Truck Burger – £12.50 or if you are really hungry you can double up for £3.50! Comprised of Honest beef, deep-fried smoked British mozzarella, Old Winchester cheese, chipotle jam, pickles and rocket with homemade rosemary chips. You better be quick if you want to sample this amazing taste sensation as it is only available until the 31st March 2019.

Another option would be to go with The Ealing Burger – £12.50 (only available in the Ealing branch), beef, bacon, Dambuster Cheddar, Dorset Red, mustard mayo, onion, rocket, tomato and pickles with chips. Brent from Cheddar Deli in Northfields Avenue helped the, to pair two British Cheddars – one sharp, one smoked for a punchy double cheese flavour.

If you are still hungry then there are also some yummy side dishes too, we particularly enjoyed the BBQ chicken wings served with chipotle BBQ sauce and spring onions – £5.00

The Ealing Mummy’s verdict – fresh juicy burgers, with hand cut chips served with a smile from the friendly staff. Comfortable seating and welcoming atmosphere (definitely child friendly). Great drinks menu and supporting local businesses too! What’s not to like? Already looking forward to our next visit!

You will find Honest Burger at – 53 New Broadway, Ealing, W5 5AH. They also have other West London branches in Chiswick, Hammersmith, Portobello, South Kensington and Bond Street, plus many branches around London and other branches in the South of England too.

Honest Burger – Ealing Broadway Branch

Disclaimer – I received a complimentary family meal in return for a review, however as ever all views are my own and they are an honest reflection of my experience.

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my review on Patri – Indian Street Food Restaurant in Northfields

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Why blog and who should blog? If you have a business and you don’t regularly blog you are missing out on using a great marketing tool. Even if your business perhaps doesn’t seem the most interesting topic there are always things you can write about. Remember that you are aiming to be useful and provide information/tips/hacks therefore be of service to your reader. If you write something useful that person may come back to your website and down the road may buy your product or service, they may also share your blog post on social media or mention it to a friend! So what are you waiting for get producing great content now and then you will see that blogging really can benefit your business!

Your aim is to drive traffic to your website, where hopefully that person will look at other pages. It raises your profile/this could be you yourself or the brand you have created.  Try to post regularly, this could be once a week or even once a month. You should aim to stick to it as your audience will begin to expect your posts and may loose interest if you are erratic.

How to Blog

So how do you get started? It depends on the website you use for business. You can simply have an area called “News” or ‘Blog” built into your website where you then place the blogs, or you might want to use a blogging platform such as:

Square Space

WordPress

Blogger

I use WordPress and find it to be the most user friendly, I have learnt myself how to update my blog from the back end.

What should you write about?

Think about your industry or niche. If you were new to this area what would you want to know?

You can use google trends to search for what is popular

Look at news websites what’s in the news at the moment are there are stories you could write about?

Have a look at your competitor’s websites, what are they writing about? There is no harm putting your own spin on the topic!

                                                                                                                                    

The structure of your blog

A lot of this is just simple stuff, but it really does make a difference and can be the turning point if someone actually bothers to read your blog or not. So think about the following:

The title – I will come back to this in SEO

Language and style

Grammar and spelling should be spot on. Consider using a plug in like grammerly

The quality of images should be excellent, make them Pinnable and give them a title/description so they are searchable.

Having useful clickable links to other websites

Paragraphs that aren’t too long, consider bullet points and perhaps headings (List style blog posts are very popular).

 

What if you don’t have the time to write blog posts?

You could consider paying a freelancer or agency to do it for you? I offer this service, so if you need help with writing blogs I could do this for you!

Image by Waggle Social

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is a huge topic and one where you will find many experts. There are companies who can look at your website to improve your SEO. But for the purpose of this basic article  few things apply:

Build up an achieve of material this will improve your ranking on search engines – such as Google.

Produce content consistently.

Search engines should be your number one traffic driver if your site is correctly optimised.

Think about your title, you need to be offering an answer to a problem or question that is what the search engines want.

Have a look at where you are ranking on Google at the moment? Where are your competitors if they are higher than you ask yourself why? Do some investigation around their website, what are they doing differently to you?

 

Do an audit on your own website:

Is your site free from broken links? So go onto any links and check they actually work.

Check how your site looks on a mobile device. You should be able to see your website in a mobile friendly way. Remember a lot of people will be viewing your site via their mobile.

How long does it take for your site to load? If it is taking ages, this will put people off and they just won’t bother going any further.

A low bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a site who navigate away after viewing only one page).

Your page title should be under 60 characters, other it will be cut off in the search results.

You could go back over old posts and improve their SEO.

 

Next think about optimising for strong keywords

Perhaps use a plug in such as  Yoast ,  (there is a free version). It has a handy traffic light system to show you where you are going right or wrong. Think carefully about your first paragraph/into and how that will grab the reader’s interest into reading more.

Use a keyword tool which will then produce a selection of long-tailed keywords. Then create your blog post content with that keyword in mind. Use it in the title, subheadings and body of your text. Do it organically and don’t try to cram it in too much as that may go against you in Google. Google wants to reward and feature good helpful genuine content. Ideally 1.5% of the total word count.

Search Google Trends (trends.google.co.uk)  a good way to compare tends.

Get a free Google AdWords account, then you get access to the keyword tool.

The length of your post should be at least 600 words.

Photo by Waggle Social

 

Promoting your blog

This is a big topic and I could talk about this for hours, but essentially it is a process, rinse and repeat every time you write a new blog post. The amount of effort you put in to promoting your blog post really does make a difference. After all, if you have spent the time crafting a really amazing informative post, but then no one reads it then what’s the point!

So let’s start with social media: The main three are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Plus, you also have Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Facebook

We all know how hard it is to get your business out there on Facebook, of course Facebook wants us to pay for boosted and promoted posts, but there are other ways to get your blog post noticed.

Firstly, make sure your profile is updated.

Make sure you are actually following the right people, that maybe your target audience and competitors too. Engage with others, like and comment on posts that way you will get your name out there.

Once you have written your blog post share it on your page, pin it to the top of your page.

If appropriate share in local groups or with others.

Consider starting your own Facebook Group, that way you can create your own community and they are more likely to see your blog post.

Once a month or whenever you can, look at the engagement from your blog post on Facebook analytics, did this type of post do well?

 

Twitter

As soon as your blog post is live tweet about it. Pin it to the top of your tweets

Remember it is perfectly acceptable to tweet about your new blog post multiple times, of course use a variety of images to go with it and different text. Make sure you provide a clickable link,  you could use Bitly Links, which reduces the size of the text.

Use the right hashtags for your industry or niche, that is another way people might find you.

Join in with Twitter chats there are local ones such as: Ealing Hour or Hanwell Hour, or something more national.

Make sure you actually engage with others, that way they are more likely to re-tweet your post.

You could direct message someone if you want to get them to notice you, however not all accounts will accept direct messages.

Don’t forget to @ mention.

Consider overlays by using canva to point out what the blog post is about.

 

Instagram

Post about your new blog post, make sure you explain what it is about, but don’t give too much away as you want people to actually go to your website. Make sure you put a  link to your most recent blog post in your bio.

Tag people who might be interested in your post.

Use the right hashtags and that means trying to find the ones that do not have millions of users, try to use some of the more obscure ones, don’t always use the same ones, do your research.

 

Other ways

Pinterest – great for driving traffic back to your website

Linked In – publish your blog post there.

Get published on other websites like Huffington Post.

Collaborations with other bloggers/businesses which gives a backlink to your website.

Join Facebook Groups where businesses share their blogs.

Create an email list where you can send a newsletter mentioning link to your blog.

Join a linky or start your own – A linky is a post on your blog where you include code that enables other bloggers to link their own blog posts to yours. This creates a virtual party where other creatives connect usually at the same time every week.

Talk to Journalists/PR’s

Run competitions that link to your blog.

Link back to other blogs that might be of interest to your reader.

 

Evaluate

Once your blog post has been out for around 7 days go back and look at the stats, how many people have read it? Do you have any comments, overall how successful has it been? What about social media how many shares, what was the engagement like there?

This will help when writing your next post, you will get to know what is popular with your audience.

Don’t forget if you would like help with writing blogs, I offer this service for a fee. Contact me via email to find out more – hello@theealingmummy.com

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Patri – Indian Street Food Comes to Northfields Avenue, Ealing

January 18, 2019
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Patri is a brand new Indian Street Food Restaurant, which has recently opened on Northfields Avenue in Ealing. Founder, Puneet Wadhwhani (also founder and creative director of the independent street food chain, Chai Naasto), has created a never-before-seen menu bringing to life the snacks and dishes he once ate as a child growing up within a bicycle ride of New Delhi train station, and of those he remembers eating on board India’s great rail journeys.

We recently went to try out their extensive menu and found ourselves trying all sorts of wonderful dishes. My taste buds were on sensory overload and as their menu offers lots of vegetarian and vegan options, I was surprised to find some of the meat free dishes were actually my favourite!

Patri Restaurant – Northfields Avenue, Ealing

We were absolutely delighted to be served a wonderful selection of small plates to start off our meal. Ranging from Pani Puri Bombs, which were crispy wheat balls filled with chick peas, boiled potato and topped with tangy, hot, spicy and refreshing mint water.

We also tried the Chatpati Aloo Tikki Chaat, which was two stuffed spicy potato patties served on a bed of boiled chickpeas drizzled with lemon vinegar, onions, tomatoes and pomegranate, topped with tamarind and mint chutney.

If you are looking for something a bit different when it comes to drinks, Patri serve a huge range of craft beers, organic wines and soft drinks. We asked our waiter to suggest which drinks would best compliment our meals? He was happy to help with our selection. We enjoyed a lovely white wine and Amelia had an organic lemonade!

If you are wondering if this restaurant is kid friendly? I can tell you it definitely is! The waiter was happy to make suggestions from the menu that were not too spicy and more suited to a child’s tastebuds. There were definitely items on the menu that she could enjoy! We found the staff very accommodating for children and if you need to use the toilet facilities, you will even find a miniature toilet especially for kids and something else a bit special, but I will leave that for you to find out! Let’s just say I have only ever experienced toilet facilities of this high standard when I once visited Japan!

We particularly enjoyed the mixture of main dishes we ordered. I can highly recommend the Railway Mix Grill, which is more than plenty for two to share. It includes: half a tandoori chicken, one lamb seekh kebab and two paneer tikka’s. Amelia really loved this combination, so it’s perfect for kids.

There was no shortage of delicious dishes to try and my other recommendation would be the Murgh Makhani, which was a butter chicken on the bone, marinated and then cooked in a clay oven. It is gently cooked in buttery tomato cashew nut gravy topped with fenugreek honey and coriander.

At the end of our meal we were treated to a traditional Indian tea, which is something I haven’t tried before and have to say I did enjoy it!

If you would like to try some authentic Indian Street food? Patri is this place for you and your family. Be sure to book your table well in advance, as especially at weekends it is a very popular place! They also offer a take away menu if you would like to enjoy this amazing food at home.

Don’t forget you can also follow Patri on Social Media.

Facebook @Patri

Instagram @patrinorthfields

Disclaimer – I was given a complimentary meal in return for a review. As always all views are my own and are an honest reflection of my recent visit.

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Explore Learning – Brand New Tuition Centre Now Open in Ealing Broadway

January 11, 2019
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Explore Learning has opened a brand new tuition centre in Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. They offer award-winning maths and English tuition for children aged 4 to 14 years old. If you are looking for your child to build their confidence and make progress with their learning in the New Year then Explore Learning could be the ideal place for them!

Perhaps your child is preparing to sit the 11 Plus or a local entrance exam? Then Explore Learning can build strong foundations, whilst developing their speed, accuracy and exam technique. Or maybe your child is struggling at school? If this is the case the tutors will be able to pinpoint where your child needs extra help and concentrate on that area. Even if your child is a high achiever Explore Learning can provide support, making sure they are challenged at the right level for their ability.

Explore Learning – Ealing Broadway

If you sign your child up before the 1st March 2019 you will save the £50 joining fee, so it is worth booking in for a free trial session soon. You will be able to meet the team and discuss your child’s needs. Both you and your child will be able to see the centre in action and experience how it works for yourselves!

Our Experience of Explore Learning

Amelia absolutely loves going to Explore Learning, she actually asks when is it time to go? I really like the relaxed and friendly environment and have always found the staff to be friendly and engaging. Children are taught to be “fearless learners” which from what I have seen encourages them to ask questions, show how they have worked out their answers and to not give up. The concept that I am really keen on is that they are rewarded through effort and not ability. This means if they complete all their learning outcomes for that session, they are given lizard cards (they can earn up to 4 cards at each session). These lizard cards are used like a currency. The children collect them and in turn can can be used to ‘buy’ items such stationary or small toy as a reward for their effort. You can see the prize wall below and the sort of things they can earn.

Once the children have completed their learning they get to go to Surf Club, this is place that they can relax, engage in play, read, colour and even play a board game with one of the staff members.

How does the monthly membership work?

Your child can attend the tuition centre once or twice a week for sessions lasting approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What are the opening hours?

Centre opening hours in Ealing during term time are:

Monday 15:00 – 20:00
Tuesday 15:00 – 20:00
Wednesday 15:00 – 20:00
Thursday 15:00 – 20:00
Friday 15:00 – 20:00
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Bank Holidays 10:00 – 16:00
Opening times change when it is school holidays.

Do you have to book?

No, it’s really flexible, you just turn up at a time to suit you. They are open throughout the week, weekend and during school holidays.

What will my children learn?

Maths, problem solving English, reading, spelling and comprehension. This will be done via their own programme of work, which adapts to their own particular strengths and development needs.

How is the centre staffed?

The tutor to child ration is 1:6 and all of the centres are Ofsted registered.

Are there any other options to help pay the fees?

Childcare vouchers/Tax-Free Childcare, the childcare element of Working Tax Credits and the Childcare Grant for full-time students could enable you to save on your monthly membership. They also offer a fantastic scholarship scheme which gives a 50% discount to parents receiving Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance. What’s more, with their ‘Refer A Friend’ scheme members can reduce there monthly membership, simply by successfully introducing other members to Explore Learning.

You will find Explore Learning on the First Floor, Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, Ealing, London, W5 5JY There is plenty of parking available within the shopping centre. The centre is also only a short walk from Ealing Broadway Station. While Amelia is at the centre I usually do a spot of shopping or even have a bit of time out in one of the local coffee shops! For any enquires you can contact the centre on 020 7052 1968

Disclosure – I was gifted one month’s complimentary membership at Explore Learning in return for a review. As always all views are my own and are an honest reflection of our experience.

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GrillVille Restaurant Review – Pitshanger Lane

November 27, 2018
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Have you tried GrillVille on Pitshanger Lane, Ealing yet? If not then you really must! GrillVille won second place in the Ealing Restaurant Awards 2018 and was definitely well deserved! I would describe GrillVille as a great place to go for a laid back meal. Expect mainly meat on the menu so, steaks, ribs and burgers. They do however offer some vegetarian options if that is what you are after. This is a family run restaurant and really does have a friendly atmosphere.

GrillVille serves breakfast, brunch and dinner and is open Monday to Friday 08:30 to 22:00. At the weekend Saturday 9:00 to 10:00 and Sunday 9:00 -21:00. Their brunch menu is served until 3pm, so it’s the ideal place to go if you fancy a cooked breakfast with all the trimmings.

Some where that is child friendly is so important to me, I really don’t want to go somewhere that doesn’t  make you feel relaxed with children in tow. GrillVille is perfect in that respect, they offer a kid’s menu which includes various choices of a main course and a kids breakfast for £5.95. Our Daughter Amelia was made to feel very welcome and she is already asking when she can go back!

We decided to share a starter which was onion rings served with an aioli dip. The portion sizes are generous, so it was perfect for two!

For our main courses, I went with the whole rack of ribs and my Husband decided upon a steak. Both meals were delicious and we were pleased to find out that GrillVille always tries to source their produce locally on Pitshanger Lane where ever try possible.

Our desserts were equally tasty. We had crepes with frozen berries and chocolate brownie and ice-cream.

GrillVille is a really welcoming family run business and reasonably priced too. You will find them at 114 Pitshanger Lane, London, W5 1QP

Disclaimer – I was invited to sample the menu at GrillVille in return for a review. As always the above post is an honest reflection of my recent visit.

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Pamela Howard School Of Dance – Ballet & Dance Classes In Ealing

November 23, 2018
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The Pamela Howard School of Dance was established in Ealing 70 years ago, originally named the Howard-Le Gray School and started by Pamela Howard herself. Once pupil of The Royal Ballet School and who went on to teach stars from Ealing Studios. The school offers classes in Ballet, Tap, Modern and National dance, for students of all ages and ability, and has recently expanded to include music, drama and body conditioning. All classes are taught by qualified teachers, and they welcome students of all backgrounds and experience. Many students have gone on to work in the dance or performing arts fields, and previous graduates include world renowned dancer and choreographer Graham Lustig.

My Daughter has been taking ballet classes and now also tap classes, since the age of 3 at the Pamela Howard School of Dance. I have been so pleased to see how her dancing ability has progressed. I would recommend classes to local parents, because I have always found the members of staff to be so friendly and they have made both myself and my Daughter always feel so welcome! The standard is high and children are encouraged to move on to examination if they wish.

What are the benefits of ballet for children?

  • Ballet and dance is a brilliant way to nurture confidence in young children. Attending a class usually means leaving parents outside the studio and learning to trust their teacher. Your child will meet new friends and interact with other children. Plus, there may be an opportunity to perform on stage, which for many children can be daughting at first, but can be a real achievement.
  • Ballet teaches children to focus and take instruction.
  • Your child will also develop coordination and balance.
  • Overall ballet and dance are a great form of exercise and as recommended by NHS children between the ages 5 to 18 years should be aiming to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

One of things that I love about this school is that they have a yearly stage show, which has been previously held at The Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford. The level of talent has been outstanding and when I have attended a performance, I have almost forgotten that I was in Ealing and for a moment thought I was watching a perfomance in the West End!

If you would like to find out more about the classes available have a look at Pamela Howard School of Dance Website. They have available places in some of their classes, so do contact them to find out more.

The Pamela Howard School of Dance can be found at 141 Broadway, West Ealing, London W13 9BE and you can contact Sue Cunningham on 07850 889948 for more information.

 

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Interview with Amanda Palagina from Toni & Guy – Ealing

October 27, 2018
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I often get asked where I get my hair cut and coloured? So this week I thought I would share my Ealing hairdressing recommendation and introduce you to Amanda Palagina joint Franchisee of Toni & Guy Ealing. Amanda and her Husband Frol took over the salon earlier this year. I would highly recommend Amanda and her team as one of the best local hairdressing salons in the Ealing area. I have been going to the salon for over ten years and each time I am always so pleased with the result! My hair is cut with precision and after consultation coloured just how I want it.

Amanda is a busy working Mum and has two children aged six and two, so I wanted to find out how she balances her working life with motherhood? So I went to interview her in the salon to find out more about her life.

Having my hair cut at Toni & Guy Ealing
Amanda Palagina – Toni & Guy, Ealing

Amanda started her career in hairdressing eighteen years ago. She begun working for Toni & Guy in 2004 and trained at the globally renowned Toni & Guy Academy in London. In 2010 she joined the Ealing salon and eventually become the franchisee in April this year with her Husband.

It was Amanda’s dream to have her own salon and she was determine to make that dream a reality. To become a francisee was a process that meant she first became one of the Managers with her Husband Frol in December 2016. This meant she got a taste of what to expect, when she finally took over the salon this year.

Toni & Guy stock Label.M products

What is the biggest challenge running your own business?

Trying to keep everyone happy including my staff, however I try not to worry about it too much!

What are your top tips to have healthy hair?

A combination of eating a healthy well balanced diet, using good quality products on your hair such as  argon oil. Plus do try to avoid hair straighteners when you can!

Toni & Guy are involved in London Fashion Week, can you give us any insight into the top trends for Autumn?

We have seen lots of of shorter styles for women this season. Pastel colours are still very popular as is balayage.

What’s it like running a business with your Husband?

It’s amazing working with Frol. He totally understands what it’s like working in the hairdressing industry, so we can always share the challenges of the day. The hardest part is organising childcare!

How has Motherhood changed you? 

It has made me become more patient and I am even more determine to be successful, to be able to give my children the best start in life. It has also taught me what real love is!

What advice would you give to new parents?

Enjoy every second! Don’t feel like there are certain places you can’t take your baby, because you really can go anywhere!

What about Mum guilt?

When I go out to work I try to remember that I am doing this for my children, as well as me. Also I am a role model to my kids and they will see that I have a strong work ethic.

What to do you enjoy?

Yoga, is something that I aim to do as much as I can. I love to go to the local triyoga in Dickens Yard. I try to regulary meditate and believe in the power of crystals. I of course love shopping and enjoy a good coffee.

Do you have any mottos you try to live your life by?

“Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself”

“Do what makes you happy, as long as you don’t hurt others”

“Life is short enjoy it”

Amanda with Mark Byron – Head of the Reception Team

You can find Toni & Guy Ealing at 29 The Broadway, Ealing, London, W5 2NP. You can book appointments online or by calling the salon on: 020 8579 1199

Current offers:

25% off for new customers Monday – Thursday

50% off children’s haircuts Monday – Thursday

20% off Students Monday – Thursday

10% off for NHS and airline staff everyday

Thank you to Amanda and her staff for a very warm welcome!

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Mumbai Avenue – Indian Cuisine in Ealing

October 12, 2018
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Here in Ealing we are spoilt for choice when it comes to Indian Restaurants, but when I saw that Mumbai Avenue has opened on The Avenue I had a feeling it would be something a bit different and I was right! It’s a family owned restaurant, which offers a wide range of Indian cuisine in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant has a limited number of tables, so I would recommend reserving one in advance. It’s bring your own bottle and there is no corkage charge for alcoholic drinks which is a bonus! They also offer a takeaway service if you prefer to enjoy your curry at home.

The decor of the restaurant is bright and welcoming. We were immediately made to feel relaxed and I found that for an early evening meal it was the perfect place to take my Daughter! The owner was able to recommend dishes that would be more suited to a child’s taste buds and even managed to rustle up her very own Aam Ki Lassi (which is a combination of yoghurt, mango and vanilla ice cream), which she was delighted with! If you are looking for an alternative to alcohol (Maybe you are doing Go Sober for October) then they also offer a range of “posh pop” including: Karma Cola, Gingerella and Thumbs Up to name but a few.

The menu is extensive and the owners tell me that all their fresh produce is sourced from Borough and Billingsgate Markets. I was particularly pleased to see lots of wonderful seafood on the menu and as you will see there were plenty of vegetarian options too.

We decided to go for the samosas and Goan king prawn baza for our starters along with the usual popadoms and some very tasty home made chutneys. Our main courses comprised of a chicken kozhi kuttan, tiger prawns and green mango curry and chicken tikka malai from the grill. We also enjoyed a range of rices and breads.

If you have any room for dessert they also serve ice cream by Ice Cream Union.

We had a lovely evening and even teamed it with a drink first at The Drayton Court Hotel which is across the road and by the way has an amazing garden with a play area, just right for our six year old. I highly recommend Mumbai Avenue and can’t wait to go back and sample some more Indian delights from their menu very soon!

You can find Mumbai Avenue at: 25 The Avenue, Ealing, W5 8JR

They are open Monday to Sunday 5pm – 11pm

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary meal, in return for a review. The above is an honest review of my experience and reflects my own opinions.

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