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A Quick Review of 2015


I hope you had a really Happy Christmas and you are enjoying the family time (and not just biding time till they go back to school..)

Here is a little review of The London Mummy in 2015. These were the posts, pictures and articles most engaged with, by YOU!



A & L Property is growing rapidly. If you have any property management requirements, she is your girl!


5 Services in London that may help you in the New Year.


If you are thinking of starting your own, Samantha Bishop has top tips to think about before you even contact a web designer (which should be her by the way – she did TLM!)


I love my daily emails from Wear & Where… Fashion & Lifestyle Blog from 2 mother’s in London.




We went to The Goat in Chelsea who now have a kids entertainer over Sunday lunch. Win!

kids birthday example

Farm Trips Close To London was popular, especially useful over October half term.


A Festive Train Ride on board the ‘Orient Express’ at Christmas was magical and very original.


Pitch & Putt in Wandsworth & Battersea – a gem of a place for when you have a short window of time.




School Run Boots and School Run Trainers were my most popular posts of the whole year! From feedback I have received, I think it worked as we are all too busy to research ourselves so like it when it arrives in our lap!

Useful Baby Items was a very reflective post and actually now I am 8 months on from that post, I think a ‘Part 2’ is in order.


Personalised Stationary with your own painted picture on it!  Alex’s stationary is going so well, you can now commission her to do a ‘proper’ painting!


Harriet Hoult’s Art is one to watch. I love the bright colours. I have just the right spot on my kitchen wall… 🙂


Of course, not forgetting the post I wrote on if you want 3 kids – Time For Number 3! and my ‘reflective’ Birthday post 35 Things I have Learnt in 35 Years.


I started a Facebook page in October to post articles and these were the most ‘clicked’ on.

The Key Jar is a jar that you put in 48 questions to pull out whenever you are all together as a family. My 3 year old answered every single one ‘I want to go to a fair’ as he is still slightly young (!) but if you have any 5+ it is a great idea to get them thinking.

This article A Fat Lot of Good Enough was encouraging to those of us who have moments that we aren’t doing as well at parenting as we hope for!

One Question one mother asked her now very successful sons every night…

Maybe a little too late, but this article on Not Over Indulging Your Children is great.



These were a few of my favourite snaps on my Instagram page




  • If you have read The London Mummy from the beginning, thank you for taking a chance on me when I launched in April 2015 and if you have just started following me, hello!


  • If you have any recommendations for things to do, places to see or friends who are launching their own business and want a Spotlight, please email me


  • It would also be great to hear what you would like to see more (or less) of… TLM is predominantly about supporting small companies like Crane Bump Baby and Muklet



  • Lastly, please forward this email to any friends who you think might find The London Mummy useful. I don’t plan on world domination (yet) but I have lots of exciting posts planned in 2016 so don’t want anyone to miss out 🙂




Facebook :

Instagram :

Twitter :

nb. A special thank you in particular to Katrina, Julie, Lucy, Emily, Hen, Flora, Laura, Tania, Hannah & Caroline for liking, poking, suggesting, sharing and commenting…








Interiors People Property Services Spotlight

Katie Cullinan : Richard Cullinan Joinery

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a house that had a place for everything.  You could hide all evidence that you had children (!) for a more aesthetically pleasing home without the plastic contraptions glaring at you from every corner. One can dream. Or one can action! Joinery…

Richard Cullinan Joinery is a family business that Katie’s parents set up in 1978 and she joined them in November 2011, after deciding to leave the law.  They have a workshop down in the pretty and historic town of Rye on the East Sussex coast, where their team of joiners produce made-to-measure cabinets and fitments for homes and offices. They can build anything – so everything has somewhere to go!


The process starts with a meeting on site, to see the available space and to find out what the client wants.  She discuss’s the options, takes measurements and then they prepare CAD drawings for review and a quote.  There might be some feedback from the client to make some adjustments to the design, and once the design is agreed she will return to double check measurements and then the joinery will be put into production.  Once the order is placed delivery is usually within 6-8 weeks.



Katie has experience how to make an efficient and spacious toy cupboard. I dream of having a house that you can’t see any evidence of children!




If you are looking to create more space in your children’s room, Richard Cullinan Joinery is a master of this.



They work with private clients, interior designers, architects and building contractors.  The size of their projects range from a simple bookcase to a house being completely refurbished, for which they might supply a complete range of cabinets including wardrobes, bookcases, media units and bathroom cabinets.

If you need any expert joinery – Katie is your go to girl!


Katie’s favourite’s :

Restaurant: The 10 Cases,  Covent Garden, London

Hotel: Era Beach Hotel, just outside Galle in Sri Lanka

Shop: Peter Jones

Website: Mad About The House

Holiday destination: Bembridge, the Isle of Wight

People Property Services Spotlight

Moving House With Penn Holmes London

The three most stressful things in life are death, divorce and moving house. The latter is the only thing we actually choose – so why is it always so difficult.  If a house sale or move is on your radar at the moment and the thought of it makes you want to weep into your cereal – why not delegate the whole process to a wonderful duo who will look after it from beginning to end.  They will use their experience, contacts and ability to take it out of your hands so you can put your energy into whatever else takes your fancy.


Penn Holmes London is a SW6 property search agency offering a very personal service helping clients find the right property for them at the best possible market price.


Penn Holmes London was set up by Francesca Penn and Katie Holmes, two childhood friends who wanted to put their enthusiasm and passion for finding and doing up properties into a concrete business of their own.



Readdressing their work-life balance following the birth of their first children they decided to wave goodbye to their former corporate worlds to launch this niche, boutique Fulham-specific property search agency.


Having both spent a significant part of their lives living in SW6 they had hands on experience buying and selling property there so they really understood first-hand the emotional and time-consuming nature of the process.  With five years under their belt now they offer a well established and renowned local property search service to families, young professionals, and investors alike looking to find the right property for them, at a competitive price within their budget.

Cosy mews houses at Notting Hill

Cosy mews houses

I urge you to contact Francesca and Katie for an initial chat. I have a feeling after meeting them, you will want to go the whole hog and work with this delightful pair…


Francesca’s Favourite’s



RestaurantDock Kitchen, Ladbroke Grove

HotelLimewood, New Forest

Holiday destination – Mauritius

Parenting tip  “Put down your phone and listen to them”


Katie’s Favourite’s

ShopMarch, Fulham Road, London

RestaurantClaude’s Kitchen Parsons Green, London

HotelLe Meridien Mina Seyahi Dubai

Holiday destination – Dubai

Parenting tip  “If you’re struggling to get a tantrum under control, film it on your phone and play it back to them.  It stops them in their tracks!”

People Services Spotlight

Clare Wright : Classlist

It was never going to be long before someone invented an efficient and practical way to communicate with other mothers (and fathers) in your child’s class.  I am over the endless ‘reply all’ filling your inbox and people starting a new email on the back of an old thread as they can’t (understandably) work out how to create a new group that you can send to with one click. I am in a Whatsapp group for my eldest sons class (Year 1). Frequently a topic has been started and never concluded as people miss it or they are onto the next thing quicker than you can say ‘did anyone take home Timmy’s swimming trunks?’ Anyway, let me get to the very exciting point. Clare Wright saw all these cracks and co founded Classlist.


“Both myself and my co-founder Susan are ex-management consultants and have had children at several different schools due to moving house in the UK and abroad.  My eldest child has just started Senior School aged 13, and it is his fifth school, including 2 American schools in Brazil, where we lived for 4 years!”

Classlist is ideal for class and year group messaging, organising class/school events and RSVP.  Parents add their own details, which can only be seen by their own year group. Classlist is data protection registered, private and encrypted, and it makes communication with other parents quick and easy. It is basically a private social network just for your school.


Classlist helps parents register, share and update whatever contact details they feel comfortable with.  When you send a message on Classlist it always uses the latest details.   We started out with a pilot at our own school, the Dragon School in Oxford, before building the mobile version of Classlist.  We seem to have hit the nail on the head in terms of what parents need, as we have lots of new classes and schools joining every week.


There are some other great features based on the people in your school’s community: a school run sharing map (find other families nearby to share journeys with), and customisable private birthday invitations too.

children walking to school2

If you are a class rep or teacher I would register your class or school pronto!  It’s a game changer…


Clare’s Favourite

Shop : Brora

Website : Pinterest

Restaurant : Porthmeor Cafe on the beach and next to Tate St Ives in Cornwall

Hotel : My Blue Hotel, Jericoacoara, Northern Brazil

Holiday destination : Argentinian Patagonia

Parenting Tip

“This summer I was working a lot and my children had to amuse themselves. I wrote a blog piece for about what to do in the holidays, and I had a very positive reaction to my advice that you shouldn’t arrange much at the start of the holidays, but should let your children get really bored, and then they will get creative!   I don’t allow any TV or devices until 6pm in the summer holidays – mainly because I can’t stand hearing ‘it’s my turn’.  For me the biggest downside of devices is that when children are bored, instead of thinking ‘shall I make something, or shall I go outside’, their first thought is ‘can I go on the iPad?’.  If they know that isn’t going to happen they get really good at filling their time themselves, and they can still have a go on the iPad later.”


Activities Events People Spotlight

George Whitefield : Sharky & George – Autumn Activity Tips

Sharky & George are the go to children’s party organisers for those in the know.  They have a simple aim – to find the fun in everything. Their jaw-dropping children’s parties are all about getting everyone involved in active, imaginative, energetic games, races, competitions, adventures and missions – always involving a certain amount of mischief!


Charlie (Sharky) and George did their very first party in their last year (2001) at school for their House Master’s daughter’s 6th birthday.  They continued doing parties for nieces, nephews, cousins and their friends for a few years and it was “getting a bit tricky to sneak out of our office jobs every five minutes to talk to mothers about balloons, water bombs and party bags whilst pretending to be all serious in our suits and ties!”  They officially gave up their serious jobs to run S&G full time in September 2007. _I4Z7690

Over the last 10 years they have created thousands of children’s parties throughout London and the South East, in Bristol and as far afield as Italy and Switzerland.



They do a wide range of themed parties, from the weird to the wonderful and everything in between.  They are also happy to discuss bespoke requirements.  I love the look of their Survival Parties – perfect for boisterous & active little ones!


George’s tips on how to entertain children as Autumn draws near:

  • Get outside and enjoy all the colours and leaves.
  • Build a den out of leaves and have a leaf battle.
  • Nothing beats a proper conker championships, make a score board and get competitive.
  • Use Andy Goldsworthy as inspiration for an awesome piece of colourful leaf art.
  • Leaf rubbing, put interesting leaves under a sheet of paper and use wax crayons to colour over the top to make awesome leaf patterns.
  • As it get’s dark earlier, it’s the perfect opportunity to play night games before bedtime, enemy spotlight (see how to play below) and glow stick 40:40 are brilliant.
  • Cooking, although messy, pizza, scone and cupcake making is so easy and so much fun, it’s worth the tidy up.
  • Building mini houses and villages.  So much stuff falls off trees at this time of year, it’s perfect for creating mini worlds in the garden, these can be for real toy people or for fairies/goblins if you’d rather.


Their book ‘Don’t You Dare’ includes ‘Enemy Spotlight’ and has lots of games that don’t require expensive props or hours of preparation.  Good to have in the back pocket over the holidays!

George’s Favourite’s

Shop : Cranch’s Sweetshop, Salcombe

Website : ‘Curiously awesome gifts’

Restaurant : The Shed, Notting Hill Gate

Hotel : Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Holiday destination : North Cornwall coast

Parenting tip…

“Play, play and keep playing!  Take play seriously, it’s the most important thing in the world for all ages, play is definitely the best way for children to learn and almost more importantly it’s key for adults to play more”


Where can you go and see Sharky & George in action?

Sharky & George is joint hosting the VitalityWest Fun Run with Savills on 15th November. They will be warming up the crowd before zipping around the one-mile fun run course flying rocket balloons and blowing bubbles to spur on the runners. They’ll also put on loads of fun and games while the grown-ups finish the 10k slog. Sign up for the event here and enter the code WESTRUN20 to get an exclusive 20% discount.

Sharky & George have also joined forces with Belmond who have created a Festive Express train journey through the country side in December, with 3 course lunch and children’s entertainment from Sharky & George. We are going on it and cannot wait – it is set to be spectacular! I will keep you posted.

They have are also offering a new Mannying service called P.I.C (Partner In Crime), taking children aged 4 plus out for the day, including activities like skateboarding lessons, chocolate making, stadium tours & learning dance routines. I can’t wait to try this in the holidays. Bring on P.I.C!



People Services

5 Services To Simplify Your Life

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the current task in hand (perpetuated by the looming 12 week summer holiday).  I have been day dreaming about a fairy Godmother entering my domain and waving a magic wand over my (first world – let’s keep some perspective) problems, so that we too, can look calm and happy like 95% of the Instagram accounts that I (@thelondonmummy) follow. Simplify my life. That’s all I ask.

Below are 4 business’s that have been set up to help people like you and me.


Sort Your Help

This company can help you find that fairy Godmother to help you with ‘domestic’ duties such as looking after the children or the housework. If you aren’t sure what you need, start with a consultation to decipher what sort of help you need to begin with. I know that sometimes when my children are being uber sweet, I want to be sole charge and delegate the washing to a willing pair of hands however after a few blue smarties and a late night (them not me) I would prefer a super nanny to take them off my hands and for me to put my marigolds on.  This is why I know I need someone flexible who allows for my indecision, but I think I need to know more than that!

Catherine or Alexa can give an objective opinion on what they think might be right for your personal situation at the time and then begin the hunt for you.

Contact Alexa or Catherine Sort Your Help


Alexa and Catherine


Emergency Childcare

Emergency Childcare allows parents to book an emergency nanny or child minder across the UK with as little as 30 minutes’ notice. Childcare can be booked for whenever you need – today, tomorrow or in 3 months’ time (on a day-at-a-time basis).

Here are just a few examples of when parents use them:

  • Their usual nursery is closed for the day
  • Their permanent nanny is off sick
  • Their childminder is going to be on holiday
  • The school has (another!) inset day
  • They want some time for themselves (hmmm might just book in that emergency weekend nanny now…)

Contact Venetia at Emergency Childcare


Venetia with Tabitha and Francesca


Teatime Tutors

Tutoring, homework assistance and a healthy tea? That’s the best 3 in 1 deal I  have heard of in a while. Tash Rosin has cornered a gap in the market to help alleviate that sometimesstressfulwithallthechildrenathome time of homework and tea. Can’t quite justify it yet (colouring half circles and days of the week at prep time – I can just about manage) but I am definitely ‘bookmarking’ Tash for later on.

Contact Tash at Teatime Tutors


Tash mid tutoring


Quintessentially Education

There has been lots of coverage in the news of late about consultations with professional advisers on ‘where would be the best Public School for your unborn child’ (OK, I exaggerate but I am not that far off the mark).  However, for those new to the British system or indeed to London, I can see that it could be mighty helpful to lift the fog on what’s what in terms of the British education system. Atleast it will give you peace of mind if you are unsure about your next step.

Rose is a lovely girl who works as a nursery consultant for Quintessentially Education and can help advise what nursery may suit your child, especially if you have a clear trajectory of education in mind. Get the nursery right and Ox-bridge here we come…

Contact Rose at Quintessentially Education


Want more?

Family Life People

Pros & Cons Of Three Children

It happened again this weekend. ‘So, what’s it like having three children?’ It is usually asked by people who have already decided they are going for the hat trick.  I am not going to advise you on whether to have 3 or not, but I do have a few thoughts about the spacing between them. We have 3 (4, 2 and 1 years old) with less than 2 years between each. Now number 3 is on the move, I am getting a true taste of what friends further down the line said to me about the 3rd ‘oh the first year is easy, wait till they start moving’. Yes. Thanks for that.

We decided before we married that three was our magic number. Whatever combination we had, we would still go for number 3. We both come from a ‘Jack and Jill’ pair – hubby is the oldest to a sister and I am a younger sister to a brother so we thought let’s mix it up, break with family tradition and get the hard work out the way. Ha. More fool us! Whatever number and age gap you have it is always going to be hard work!

Ranulph Sports day 173

 Let’s start with cons

Time off. There is none. Especially at the moment. The little one wants me and that’s fine. It’s just a stage! Lunch time sleep you ask? Yes – if they slept at the same time I would. But they don’t. At least by now, I know everything is a stage and ‘this too shall pass’. I have mastered the art of cooking/wrapping/typing etc with a bent elbow to jab them away when they come too close.

1 on 1 time. Number 3 gets plenty of 1 on 1 as number 2 is at nursery 3 mornings but the oldest two don’t get as much as I would like to give them.

Outnumbered. Having two close in age is like having twins – 2 in nappies/can’t feed themselves/both need a buggy but one is slightly more advanced (i.e not on exactly same routine/into the same things but still both drunk sailors). Fine if you don’t have an oldest one being set aside whilst you deal with the aforementioned twins.

A Car Journey. My Achilles heel. Prone to impatience, shouting and losing it. All of us. A particular low point recently was when number 2 was sick on number 1 who shrieked slightly too dramatically and woke up number 3.  All crying. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Car seats. 3 car seats along the back. Good luck with that. Won’t go into logistics but email me if you want some pointers. It is possible!

Social life. This will suffer. A wise friend who now has 4 once said, if you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) or are a ‘people pleaser’ don’t have a 3rd, as you will miss out and are likely to offend people with your inability to be the friend you once were.  I remind myself it is just a stage.

Weekends away.  We started to reduce our weekends away when we had two very ‘active’ boys and it was more relaxing for them to jump on our sofas/throw our food – delete as appropriate and since number 3 came along we have bedded down even more so. That’s fine anyway, as to get to away – we would have to drive. (Already mentioned).

Paraphernalia. Too much with 3 little ones.  Our house has looked like a playgroup for a long time with no respite.

Play dates. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting a gaggle of little ones together at home. I probably prefer home matches to away matches as then I don’t have to take half of the contents of my house too but I can no longer feed a street as I once did. I have enough of my own who need feeding (literally).

Sleep. More specifically not waking up naturally for a good chunk of your life. I can’t remember the last time I was woken up by anything other than a wail/cry/shout.

Childcare. Particularly applies to weekends or school holidays. No one can look after 3 under 4 unless you were trained at Norland, so even the most dutiful and kind Granny needs another set of hands.  This is an extra expense so a wedding for example ends up being a massive hit.

Marta photos 001

Now for the pros

Interests. Ok, so number 1 doesn’t like opening and shutting doors like number 3. But you get me. They are still all happy in the small playground rather splitting into the small and large playground for example, as they are all in the same age range.

Baby gear. It didn’t go out of date nor did we lose it to lending. There was no debate where to store it in between babies. We kept it at home knowing that the time would hopefully quickly come round to get it all out again. Currently in the chucking out stage which is uber satisfying. (If you want a 50 ft wide baby bouncer it is looking for a good home as you read).

Toys. We haven’t had to pack up toys when one stage ends as before we know it the next one is at that stage.

Activities. No holding number 1 back whilst you wait till number 3 is ready (hoping to apply this to skiing next year when number 1 is only 5. I will be able to join in too as I won’t be pregnant!)

TV. Number 3 is quite happy to watch Spider-man and Power Rangers. She knows nothing else (and won’t ever be allowed to by the looks of it).

Sport. Similar age so similar stage. Less one sided. Number 3 won’t always be the fielder as she will be in the mix (and assertive enough) to play alongside.

Clothes. They can almost sort of nearly sometimes wear one another’s clothes. That’s if you number won’t mind frayed cords. And number 2 and 3 are same nappy size!

Parties. Can do joint. Just think of those teenage years!

Friends. They all get on with each other’s friends. Number 1’s friends love playing with number 2’s and 3’s (even though the latter’s are in short supply) and vice versa. And if there are no friends about, they have each other.

You. You can get your work/social life/body back without knowing a self imposed relapse is on the cards.  That’s if you have any energy left!

Family. We are a much tighter unit as we stick together as no one (yet) needs to be taken off to do other things.  We are also even closer to our wider family as we see them more – they aren’t intimidated by the circus coming to stay.

Our theory was that if you know you are going to do it, let’s just crack on with it before the proverbial ship sails.  I can see that the bigger the age the easier it is – but who said easy was as much fun!

Want more?


People Services Spotlight

Samantha Bishop: Website Wizz

You may have noticed that The London Mummy’s website has changed! My aim was to make it look more professional, easier to navigate and above all, more stylish. Samantha Bishop from  Occomedia has done all the leg work for me. I knew I was in experienced and capable hands and so let her work her magic. I think she has succeeded, but most importantly – I love it and hope you and your friends will too…


Samantha seamlessly upgraded, tweaked and pimped my blog with not one little glitch.  She completed it efficiently and professionally without ever losing her rag at my constant changes (!)  I have had a baptism of fire in the ‘web design’ sphere and it takes a very special person to do what she does – namely bright and patient, which she is both as a friend and professional.

“My father made my twin sister Kinvara and I study computer science at uni. I was desperate to do art but he wanted us to do something that we could use afterwards”   

After university and then working for a few big corporations including Sky, she decided to go freelance. It was the best decision she ever made! Kinvara and Samantha love it because they can work from home (and with a combined total of 6 children under 5 between them, this is a necessity). They also love being their own boss, although the downside is that they never switch off and often work into the night and at the weekend.

Samantha and her twin sister Kinvara

A few examples of website’s they have completed –

Celebrity chef James Martin’s


Milliner Jess Collet


Architects Allies and Morrison


Samantha has has compiled a concise list of what to think about before you set up your own website.  (Perhaps a few things I should have thought about before embarking on my initial blog).

  1. The main aim/goals of your site. What is it going to be used for and who will be using it. Once you have decided this you (or the designer) can think about which system will be best to use. This is most important!
  2. Copyrighting. Before you start writing it is important to think about the tone of voice you will be using on the site. Also, how much copy – remember on websites – less is more.
  3. Images. They should match the style of the site, they can really make a site.
  4. A list of competitors sights. What you like and don’t like from their websites.
  5. SEO. Very important if you want your site to appear in the top of the Google search results. Think about your keywords, and try and populate
    them around the site as much as possible. Also links (with your keywords in) and keywords used in page titles.
  6. Scalability. Important for sites built on a budget, make sure your site can scale up if needs be – when you make it big time!
  7. Hosting. Who or what company will host, manage and maintain the website.
  8. Mobile friendly. Very important as a large proportion of visitor to your site will probably be using a mobile or tablet.  Also, Google discredits sites which aren’t optimised for mobile, so make sure your designer adds one in!

If  you thinking of upgrading your current website or want to set up a new one from scratch, I strongly urge you to contact Samantha who will be able to help with any requirements. She gets that the average Joe doesn’t understand all the technical jargon and will explain what she is doing clearly and simply, whilst keeping you in the loop on every matter.  You would be in the best possible hands and whenever anyone asks for a recommendation from now on, I will always say to contact Samantha for a chat.


Samantha with her three beautiful children

Samantha’s Favourite’s

Shop:  Wondaland
Restaurant:Ostuni, Queens Park in London
Hotel: Mango Bay, Phu Quoc, Vietman
Place to go: Gospel Oak Playground, Hampstead Heath