TONIC MUMMYâ€™s GIN FUND READY FOR RENOVATION
New season NEW JOB
FOR WARMER WEATHER HEALTHY AND FUN FOOD FOR KIDS Photograph by Claire Sullivan
SPRING / SUMMER 2017
f g m e th ine l n o p sho
FA IP O H T S R D A T THE S TIFUL FRIEN BEAU
Find brilliant friends, start great conversations and support local causes. Grab one of our ace MGF goodies and show the world youâ€™ve got your wings.* *be warned, other lovely parents will want to smile at you if go out in public with one of our products!
Editor's LETTER CONTRIBUTORS
SPRING: AFTER A DARK AND GLOOMY FEW MONTHS, THE CLOUDS PART TO LET THE SUNSHINE THROUGH AND EVERYTHING STARTS TO FEEL ALRIGHT AGAIN. THE BIRDS SING, THE FLOWERS BLOOM AND THE BABY LAMBS SKIP AROUND THE FIELDS (NOT UNLIKE THE FEELING WHEN YOUR BABY FIRST SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT). If all this renewed vigour gives you the kick up the bum to finally start that extension or renovation project you’ve been talking about all winter, put down Pinterest and hop on over to our brilliantly informative and practical guide by experts and friends of MGF, Upwards and Outwards (p2). Don’t let the sun be the only one putting her hat on, why not join in with some of the fab summer fashion ideas from our brilliant MGF recommended businesses (p4). Spring is a great time for personal growth, and if it’s a new career challenge you are looking for, Ruth Kudzi’s fab ‘New Season, New Job’ guide is bound to point you in the right direction (p6). Here at MGF, we love to celebrate everyone in #teamparent, so we couldn’t let Father’s Day pass by unnoticed. Check out our gorgeous selection of gifts to say thank you for doing such a brilliant job (p8). As always, our gifts are from the wonderful MGF Recommended businesses on our website. Now the birds are singing, why not pop one on your finger and release your inner Mary Poppins with Nancy De Broka’s great guide to decluttering; unearth more breathing space and have less stuff to dust – it’s win/win! (p10)
As well as filling your house with fresh air, why not top up your lungs with it too? Our practical guide to balancing exercise with everyday parenting life will prove you don’t have to be Sporty Spice to get your heart pumping (p13). Better weather means the world is your playground so get out of London and visit one of the fantastic beaches recommended in our guide (p14). We asked you for the best the South East has to offer and you’ve nominated some great and worthy winners. But, don’t bother packing soggy sandwiches, our delicious suggestions for more interesting picnic fare (p16) will have you rummaging in your lunch box before you get to the A2. Have a wonderful time picnicking, walking, gardening, clearing your house and mind, building sandcastles and being outdoors. As always, we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. Get in touch via our Facebook page or via Twitter. I’m off to ‘research some gardening tips’ (Any excuse for more Mr. Bloom on the TV is fine by me!) HELEN firstname.lastname@example.org
HELEN HAMSTON Helen Hamston runs Mummy’s Gin Fund. Her favourite things are sleeping, eating roast potatoes and wearing her dressing gown. Instead, she is mostly awake, eating leftover fishfingers and wearing baby sick. When not juggling 4 children, she spends too much time on the interweb. Please make this worth her while by following MGF on Instagram, twitter and facebook and clicking on her lovely website: www.mummysginfund.co.uk.
RUTH KUDZI Ruth Kudzi is a qualified Business & Confidence coach who specialises in working with mums who want to start up or develop their own businesses that give them the flexibility to work around their family. To find out more about Ruth check out her website | facebook group | Instagram
NANCY DEBROKA Nancy DeBroka is the owner of The Zen Home (thezenhome.net), providing decluttering & organising services in London. Based in Greenwich, Nancy works primarily with busy families and work-at-home clients and is an accredited member of APDO: The Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers in the UK.
Written by MGF recommended SE London construction company Upwards and Outwards
SPRING HAS ARRIVED, THE FLOWERS ARE BLOSSOMING AND THE SUN IS BEGINNING TO SHINE. WE ARE ALL NOW COMPLETELY OVER CHRISTMAS AND READY TO FOLLOW ONE OF THE BIGGEST TRENDS FOR SPRING TIME: SPRUCING UP OUR HOUSES. Thoughts, ideas and finances are in place and depending on the work, it’s usually enough time for everything to take place and be ready to enjoy the summer. Over the years, Upwards & Outwards have been a part of many extensions, conversions and house refurbishments and we want to share our top tips! Deciding on what you want and who to go with; • The biggest decision for you to make is who to go with and what to have done. We have all heard the horror stories of cowboy builders and nobody wants to go through this. So, look around, talk to friends and family. Use all the forums you have available to you and try and take it all in. Meet with a few different companies and really try and get a feel for them yourself. This can be hard, but you have to trust these people. Larger companies will usually have a sales person come and talk to you and the smaller more intimate companies, like us here at Upwards & Outwards, will send someone that will be actually working on your home. • Ask lots of questions. You are spending a lot of money and you want to make sure you make the most out of the space
that you have. From the answers that you receive, you will also get more of a feel for the company and the person that you have met with. • Listen to the voice of experience. The companies should have done this many times before and will be full of ideas to help make the project perfect for you. • Get more than 1 quote but don’t just automatically go with the cheapest. Remember, expensive doesn’t always mean it’s the best either. Make sure you get an itemised quote to show exactly what you are getting. You may think someone is a lot more expensive than the others, but really pay attention to what’s included.
LEGALITIES The main things to remember: • Make sure the company that you are going to use has insurance. Nobody wants anything to go wrong, but things can happen and you want to know that you are covered and everything will be sorted. • Check to see if contractors are members of any organisations, and what they offer. Upwards & Outwards are part of the ‘FMB’ - the Federation of Master Builders. They are there for both the builder and the client. If either are not sticking to their side of the contract then FMB can intervene and
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make sure works are finished to the agreed spec or that payments are paid. • Always sign a contract. Go through it thoroughly and ask any questions that you may have before you sign. Make sure that it is signed by both parties before any works commence. And again, ask as many questions as you would like and discuss any points that you may not be sure of. • You should also remember that if you add extras, this will prolong the time that it will take for your project to be completed.
TIMINGS • Give yourself time. Give everyone involved in the process time! You don’t want to rush any of it. • We tell people that the minimum time before works can start is around 6 months. Finding one company to handle the whole process from planning to completion can save stress and time. Some companies prefer to work with trades that they know but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re booking people in separately, make sure that they are happy to work with new people and that all their timings are in sync with each other. • We always advise clients to find a builder they are happy with before doing anything else. There can be a wait time of several months for a good building company – that’s the perfect time to find an architect and go through planning. • A good company will include a payment schedule which tells you what you have to pay and when. This will help with planning the process and managing expectations.
1 month 1 month
to meet with different builders/ trades and choose who you want
to go back and forth with the architect to get exact drawings of your project
for planning permission to be accepted, depending on whether this is under permitted development or not
It can take longer if planning isn’t accepted first time and depending on the the wait time for your contractors.
FINANCES • This is probably the most daunting thing to go with any project, especially the big ones: get your finances in order. • For larger projects, most people will have to raise the money through re-mortgaging their properties. This can take time within itself; remember you must have access to the money as soon as it is needed. You need to get this sorted and in place before the project starts and before you sign a contract. Payments will need to be made to the companies to make sure that the build progresses on time and that materials can be purchased to go on to the next stage.
BE REALISTIC We all have a vision of what we want and we all spend hours on Pinterest and Google Images looking for the best ideas and we come up with thousands of them. Most of them don’t match and we want it al!. See if there are previous clients of the company that you can visit, ask friends and family that have had similar done and see the ideas in real life. Listen to the suggestions based on personal experience. It’s also about being realistic with your budget; you want it to look perfect when you have finished but you need to decide whether you are happy to wait for the “extras” to complete the space or you want it all done at once. You may need to sacrifice some items or make sure that you have a full budget before you begin. If you want to take on the task of doing the decoration yourself, please think about the time and the skill that will go in to this. The decoration is the icing on top of the cake, the bit that everyone is going to see. It takes a lot of time and patience to get it exactly right. You need to make sure you have both. Ask for tips; if the company you are going with offers a decoration service, ask them what paint and brushes they recommend.
• When sorting your budget, remember to take more than just the project itself into consideration. There are bound to be new ideas and extra things along the way that you want to add on; this should be fine but they will also usually incur extra costs (and time). • Take into consideration furnishings, decoration, price of the kitchen and all the new appliances you want. Do you really want to spend all of that money on the perfect extension and then not be able to add all of the finishing touches that you want at the end? Set yourself a budget, remember that you probably will go a bit over and get organised and be prepared.
TRUST AND RELAX It’s good for clients to relax! Easier said than done we know, BUT this will make it a lot easier for everyone. You should always pick someone that you trust; you have to have these people in your house, day in, day out for sometimes over 6 months depending on the size of the project. If you don’t trust them, don’t go with them! We know this can change over time, but it shouldn’t. Your builders and the people that work for them shouldn’t do anything to lose your trust.
FINALLY, ENJOY IT. Enjoy the whole process. It’s a long time and it’s a lot of decisions but I promise you, it will all be worth it in the end. There are always going to be things that you may have preferred to do differently, but own what you have and be proud of it! If you are thinking about going for a new extension, loft conversion or a complete refurbishment, do it. It will all be worth it in the long run!
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LITTLE GREEN GEEK This playsuit from Little Green Radicals is now available at Little Green Geek! The ‘Into The Wilderness Playaway Playsuit’ is inspired by The Secret Garden and depicts a forgotten garden, a wilderness of creeping vines, trees with eyes: a secret hideaway. Comfortable for babies, small & large, with poppers for easy nappy access. The stunning Secret Garden Range, from Little Green Radicals is made of 100% organic, fair trade cotton & is beautifully soft!
If you are looking for modern, bold and colourful baby and toddler clothes then have a look at hpstr.bb. Jumpers, leggings, harem pants… Everything in the collection is handmade using only the softest materials and is exclusively made to order. Custom requests welcome. We’d love to hear from you. Add some bite to your little one’s summer style with some made to order cotton T-shirts.
From £16 www.etsy.com/uk/shop/hpstrbb
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Also at Little Green Geek, are the fair trade, ethically made Tommy & Lottie. The beautiful t-shirts are designed & screen printed in the UK, & the harem trousers, with the lovely logo embroidery on the back, are sized to fit over reusable & single use nappies alike. Designs include classic British Wildlife Prints & iconic Funfair Prints.
From £15.99 www.littlegreengeek.co.uk
MOMOSIKI Designed with care and love, this bodysuit is the epitome of comfort and unique design. Lovely colour and soft fabrics will surely be gentle on your eye and your little one’s skin. Momosiki store is all about great quality, vibrant colours and special motifs. Please visit our site and explore our fantastic collection made of the softest fabrics. Choose from our beautiful prints and styles. Fill your baby’s wardrobe with fun, happiness and chic.
Keep precious little feet warm with this footed dungaree. Made of super soft fabrics and kind to your baby’s skin, OekoTex’s cue design and gorgeous colour will make your child stand out in a crowd.
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SPRING IS IN THE AIR AND IT ALWAYS MAKES ME THINK ABOUT NEW BEGINNINGS. FOR ME THIS IS THE PERFECT TIME TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO DO AND ACHIEVE IN THE NEXT YEAR.
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LIFE IS SHORT AND SO MUCH OF IT IS SPENT WORKING. IT MAKES SENSE TO FILL THOSE DAYS AND HOURS WITH HAPPINESS AND FULFILMENT. WHATEVER YOUR WORKING SITUATION, YOU’RE SURE TO FIND GREAT ADVICE FROM OUR RECOMMENDED BUSINESS AND CAREER COACH, RUTH KUDZI. I am a hippy at heart and love working with mums on their confidence and to make their dreams a reality. My tips to help you work out what you want to change and how you want to do it:
Think about what you really love doing – is there an element of your job that you absolutely love? Do you have a hobby that you are passionate about?
I loved developing people in my previous career and I used coaching to do that, I had my business staring me in the face.
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What are you really good at? I am a great believer in building on your strengths to make them super-sized rather than focusing on what you can’t do really well. It can sometimes be hard to do this by yourself so ask some work colleagues, trusted friends or your partner and get your list together.
Spend some time every week (or every day if possible) investing in you, whether it is enrolling on a course to help you with your career, online training or simply reading, this will help you get to where you want to be.
If you are starting up a business do some research - what do your competitors offer and how are you going to be similar / different to them? If you are in a service based industry people do buy you, so think about what is special about you (from number 2) and use this to develop your business. I did this when I set up my business, I am a mum and a qualified coach but it is the fact for the last 20 years I have worked in fields where coaching and personal development are key – Psychology, recruitment and education that makes me stand out.
Ditch bad habits, I am sure I am not the only person who has shown signs of social media addiction. I actually got a social media manager to stop myself wasting so much time looking at my phone / emails. Do a time audit and think about what really sucks your time and reduce it or get rid of it. On my first maternity leave I spent a lot of time reading trashy magazines when Jessica was asleep; when I decided to only have one magazine a month I loved it more and had heaps more time
Think about your end goal – what do you really want and how will this job / business help you to get there? Be honest with yourself about your dreams and what you want. Create affirmations around these to remind yourself daily.
Think about what you really value, I have some clients who value the freedom a high salary gives them and this is nothing to be ashamed of. It is what works for you.
The most important thing in all of this is you, our work and career is a huge part of our lives and I personally believe life is far too short to be stuck in a job that is “fine” at best.
Ruth offers an exclusive discount to MGF Card holders – check it out here.
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fathers day GIFT GUIDE
1. Photo Stories
2. HMV Tin Amp
Stories by Sarah is a child and family photography business by Sarah Rimmo-Toure, an experienced and qualified professional photographer based in SE London. Sarah photographs in a natural, relaxed way, trying to capture the children as he or she is. Sessions normally take place in a park, your home or garden (studio sessions also available).
From Tinamps, the HMV “His Masters Voice” retro amp in a tin. Each of these portable amps has a speaker concealed under a mahogany wooden grille. The branded tin includes a charging cable, mini-jack plug for connecting to iPods / Phones and certificate of authenticity.
storiesbysarah.co.uk Instagram | Email | Facebook 8 | MGF SPRING 2017
3. Carry on Cocktail Kit – Gin & Tonic
4. Men’s Liquid Soap by Compagnie de Provence
5. Creative and Gardening Apron
The perfect gift for the frequent traveller, this kit is designed to take on the plane or train, providing the perfect little pick me up. It includes the tools to mix two Gin & Tonics, including craft tonic syrup that puts the canned stuff to shame.
This gorgeous smelling liquid soap is sure to be a hit with its invigorating, aromatic fragrance with spicy wood notes.
Great functionality meets great appearances. A durable apron with five pockets including a ‘hidden’ front pocket for keeping things safe. Designed by Joy Vasiljev.
Kit Components: Recipe Card, Bar Spoon, 1/2 oz. Jigger, Tonic Syrup, Linen Coaster, Carry On Tin
Buy here homeandkids.co.uk
Made in a cauldron, this liquid soap is elaborated with vegetable oils and naturally glycerined
Material: 100% GOTS certified organic cotton with a canvas weave
6 6. Heavens to Betsy! Bespoke Illustrations Service Choose a gift this Father’s Day that you won’t find in any store! Drawn by hand from photos of your favourite moments and presented in fine art, giclee print format, Heavens to Betsy’s unique storybook style illustrations provide a special gift to cherish for years to come. From £90 MGF Card Holders: 10% off
www.heavenstobetsy.co.uk Instagram | Facebook
7. Pottery Keepsakes
8. Handmade keepsakes
9. Baby Massage Voucher
Create precious keepsakes for Dad this Father’s day with Flying Colours Pottery! With over 12 years experience, all items are professionally glazed & fired and ready for collection within 2 weeks. I visit people at home, for groups of 3 or more, or find me at a cafe near you, all events are listed on my website.
At Betsy-Belle Creations we provide handmade, unique keepsakes for all occasions. Perfect for that special Father’s Day gift. Each item is personalised and custom made to your specifications. Love and thought is put into all of our products.
For Father’s day, why not give your partner a Baby Massage voucher? Being a new dad can be daunting. You are suddenly responsible for this little being and you are not even sure how to hold them? Baby Massage is a fantastic way to gain your confidence with your baby, to bond with them and have some quality time together. Mum’s can join too. Advance bookings only, subject to 5 mile radius of Crystal Palace.
Feel free to pop us a message and browse through our range of products available.
www.flyingcolourspottery.co.uk Cards from £2.50. Gifts from £8 Instagram | Email | Facebook
www.andchillax.co.uk MGF SPRING 2017 | 9
s y o t SHEDDING LIGHT ON
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ITâ€™S SPRING! IS ALL THAT GLORIOUS DAYLIGHT SHINING NEW LIGHT ON - AHEM - YOUR DUST BUNNIES AND CLUTTER? OOPS. NO WORRIES THOUGH! WITH NEW LIGHT COMES RENEWED ENERGY, MAKING IT THE PERFECT TIME TO DECLUTTER AND ORGANISE. THERE ARE ONLY 3 BASIC STEPS TO GETTING ORGANISED: SORTING / PURGING, ORGANISING, AND MAINTAINING. MGF RECOMMENDED PROFESSIONAL DECLUTTERER, NANCY DEBROKA, SHOWS US HOW TO APPLY THIS METHOD TO TOYS.
1. SORTING / PURGING
The less you have, the less you need to maintain. Involve the children. Have a frank (age-dependent) discussion with your child and encourage them to think critically about their belongings. Their responses may surprise you.
Think critically about how and where things should ‘live’. What works for your family? There’s no right or wrong but get everyone in the house on the same page about where things belong.
Once you’ve purged and organized, you will no doubt be feeling very pleased with your progress! How can you maintain the feeling?
• Bin the ‘kiddie litter’. Let go of the plastic tat from Happy Meals and party bags. Just do it. • Keep only age-appropriate toys. A 3-year-old no longer needs a rattle. Allow the toys in your house to grow with the children. • Purge duplicates. If you find multiple doll-houses, car-tracks, etc., pare down. Same goes for the accessories. • Be ruthless. Does YOUR child like it and use it? Do YOU? Neither the expense of the item nor the giver is important here. Used items rarely hold the value they did in the shop. Gifts should have been freely given – they no longer belong to Auntie Mabel and she doesn’t get to decide what stays in YOUR house.
• Keep it simple. When our kids were small, we had 2 clear plastic boxes – all the cars, planes, boats and trains went in the ‘transport’ box; all the animals and people went in the ‘animal’ box. SIMPLE. • Rotate. Consider toy rotation. Have 2 or 3 separate boxes containing a variety of toys. Keep one out, and store the others out of sight. Periodically rotate the boxes. • Choose appropriate storage. Clear plastic boxes with locking lids are fabulous behind closed doors but they aren’t overly attractive or soothing to look at in the open. If toys will be part of your main living space, seek storage solutions which are pleasing to YOUR eye as well as child-friendly. Storage ottomans or lidded baskets work well, as do cupboards with doors. Traditional toy boxes aren’t ideal as the little bits tend to fall to the bottom, never to be seen again…
• Set new habits. Build ‘tidy-time’ into the routine. ‘Dinner, bath, bed’ becomes ‘Dinner, tidy, bath, bed’. Make it fun – play music, sing, have a race or give each person a ‘zone’ or type of item to tidy. • Edit as you go. If you notice something that’s no longer used, put it immediately into an easily accessible ‘charity bag’. When the bag is full, off it goes. You’ll be decluttering as you go about daily life and won’t feel so overwhelmed. • Have a frank discussion about gifts. If your children receive ‘too much’ at birthdays and holidays gently discuss this as a family. Communicate honestly how you feel about new items coming into the house. Encourage ‘experience gifts’. Whatever the outcome of the discussion, remember that YOU are in charge of the contents of your home. Never feel guilty letting go of things you don’t like or need, regardless of their provenance. Hopefully, I’ve ‘shed some light’ to help you feel more in control of your space. Above all else, enjoy your home and your precious time together as a family. Don’t get caught up in trying to keep life overly ‘tidy’, but do remember to surround yourself with only that which is truly beautiful and important to YOU.
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SPRING IS IN THE AIR, THE KIDS ARE HAVING FUN, TIME TO...
.camera .get theheout! BY RACHEL RIMELL, FROM RACHEL RIMELL PHOTOGRAPHY
SPRING HAS VERY MUCH SPRUNG AT LAST! AFTER A LONG DREARY WINTER I’M SURE EVERYONE IS JUST ITCHING TO GET OUT IN THE SUNSHINE, GET THE PICNICS PACKED AND HEAD OUT FOR SOME GREAT FAMILY DAY TRIPS TO REMEMBER. AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO CAPTURE THOSE MEMORIES THAN BY TAKING LOTS OF PHOTOS! As a professional family photographer I’m often asked how I get such lovely natural images of children. Well here are my top tips for getting the best out of your family photographs this spring. 1.
Head for the shade. I know - the sun has just come out and you’re desperate to feel a bit of sunshine on your face, but you’ll find it casts unflattering harsh shadows, makes everyone squint, and your skies will look all washed out instead of the beautiful azure blue you recall. If you can, head for a shady tree to get the best shots. Be patient and ready for anything. Kids move. A lot. But you’ll get the best images when they’re not posing for the camera and just being themselves. Be ready to capture whatever they’re up to rather than trying to get them to sit still and smile.
Change your angle. Get down low on their level. Let them look the camera in the eye for some great engaging images.
Look for background and foreground interest. Spring is full of gorgeous photo
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opportunities: daffodils, bluebells, cherry blossom and later lavender all bring a vibrant dash of colour and kids love larking about in flowers. Shoot low across a blanket of colourful flowers for some really stunning shots. 5.
Don’t forget to swap the photographer around occasionally so mum is in the picture sometimes!
And if you want to learn more about how to improve your photography, join me for my new Photography for Parents workshops in Crystal Palace. One-to-one sessions also available. Or book me for a professional photoshoot with you and your family. And you can receive a free guide to photographing children when you sign up to my newsletter. www.rachelrimellphotography.co.uk Contact me | Family portfolio
TOP TIPS TO COMBINE FITNESS AND PARENTHOOD
TRYING TO FIT EXERCISE INTO A LIFE DEFINED BY THE JUGGLING ACT THAT IS YOUNG CHILDREN, MANAGING A HOUSEHOLD, A PARTNER AND OTHER RELATIONSHIPS, CAN OFTEN SEEM LIKE JUST ANOTHER CHORE ON THE TO DO LIST.
But ironically the endorphin rush that comes from upping the heart rate, working your muscles harder and getting more air in the lungs can be the perfect antidote to a frazzled day. The question is how the hell to fit it all in? As a mother of two with a part-time job in Central London and a marathon running hobby, I understand the difficulty of fitting in exercise into a busy schedule. Here are my top tips for fitting fitness into the life of a parent:
One day per week, set the alarm 15 minutes before the kids wake up: I know the concept of this feels like hell, especially if for you it means you set the alarm with a number beginning with 5am. But let’s face it, the only time in the day where you are guaranteed peace and quiet to do something for YOU is when everyone else at home is asleep. Granted, sleep might be your priority most of the time but why not try one day per week where you get up before everyone else and do some exercises that you wouldn’t otherwise fit into your day? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are a great way to get the heart pumping in a short space of time and can be adapted for any level of fitness. You-
tube has plenty but you can try this one for starters: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=eVLqhg3Uygc
Get out and about with the buggy: I think parents often underestimate just how much exercise they do wheeling around a buggy, chasing after a toddler on a scooter, or carrying a newborn in a sling. All of these activities should be chalked up as a good exercise job well done! But if you want to up your game, walk the extra bus stop (or two), initiate short burst races to the next telegraph pole/bush/end of the road with your toddler or simply try to increase the speed of your usual walks to get your heart rate going and exercise your lungs
Make the most of the dead time: fitting in exercise when you’re a parent is all about being efficient with your time. Muscle tensing repetitions can be done at any time of the day; you just need to consciously try to fit it in. So while the kids are brushing their teeth, you can do 3 sets of 10 reps of pelvic floor squeezes; while they are getting their shoes on, do the same with your butt muscles; while you’re waiting for them to tidy up their toys, think about tummy muscle squeezes; while they are
having their breakfast/lunch/dinner, then use the opportunity to grab a couple of cans of baked beans and do arm lift repetitions for a few minutes whilst they are otherwise occupied with food!
Arrange childcare/exercise swaps with a like-minded friend: arrange a playdate with a like-minded friend who is happy to look after your child/ren for 30 minutes whilst you take the time to undertake an exercise of your choice. Take it in turns each week. You might have to be strict with yourself to dedicate the time to exercise though – it can be so easy to use those childfree minutes to catch up on a chore or run an errand. Remain resolute and make sure that it’s dedicated exercise time! Aisling lives in Blackheath, South East London with her husband and two children, Romilly (Nov 2012) and Jasper (July 2014). Aisling works part-time in Central London and blogs about motherhood, running marathon and family travel at www.mummyontherun.co.uk. You can also follow her on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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Beaches best for NOTHING SAYS SPRINGTIME LIKE PICNICS AND THE OUTDOORS, AND WHERE BETTER TO SPREAD YOUR RUG THAN AT THE BEACH. NOT EVEN THE ERRATIC WEATHER CAN STOP US FROM GRABBING OUR BUCKET AND SPADE AND HEADING FOR THE SEASIDE. WE ASKED THE GIN-HIVE-MIND TO RECOMMEND THE BEST BEACHES FOR US TO TEST-DRIVE OUR FLIP FLOPS AT AND THEY CAME UP WITH THE FOLLOWING:
Amusements The jewel in Margate’s crown, apart from its stunning beach, has to be Dreamland. The vintage seaside amusement park which has enjoyed a recent refurbishment and is now delighting a whole new generation of visitors. It reopens its doors for the season on Friday 26th May 2017. If you can’t wait that long, there are many other family friendly arcades, old fashioned slot machines and more modern amusements to visit all year round. Read more
Train travelers With only a 15-minute walk from train station to seafront, Hastings is an ideal place to head to on the train when you need a bit of sea air. Alongside all the classic seaside features, Hastings has a strong arts culture, quirky vintage shopping and one of the richest histories in the UK. There is something for every member of the family, with two funicular railways, fish and seafood in the original tall, black Net Huts, a sea life centre, free maritime history museums, Jerwood Gallery and masses for children, indoors and out. Read more 14 | MGF SPRING 2017
Sandcastles If it’s miles of award winning golden sand you are looking for, then search no further than Camber Sands. In fact, our reviewer tells us that “it’s the sort of beach that resembles a small child’s drawing of ‘the seaside’”. There are streams for children to paddle in once the tide has gone out, boats on the horizon, waves, shells, seagulls, icecream, deckchairs and windbreaks for hire. Read more
Swimming and paddling Visit Kent tells us that Joss Bay is known as ‘the best surfing beach in Thanet’ and people having been riding the waves here for more than 40 years. Awarded the Blue Flag in 2015, Joss Bay is a stunning, sheltered beach with a lovely little café and carpark. There isn’t much more to do other than enjoy the sand and sea, which makes this a perfect, safe and friendly beach to enjoy the water. Read more
Fish and chips
A family day trip
Nothing says seaside cuisine more than good old fish and chips and some of the best we’ve tasted have come from Whistable. For the ‘eat of the paper, dripping in vinegar’ variety, try VC Jones on Harbour Street. For a posher affair, the Whitstable Oyster House sells delicious locally caught seafood and for ones that still look like fish, head towards the many fresh fish counters at the harbour.
If Broadstairs doesn’t have it, you don’t need it! Gorgeous sandy beach, safe and sheltered sea, a range of restaurants and cafes, a cinema, award winning ice-cream, independent shops, amusements, parks, loos and carparks: there isn’t much lacking in Broadstairs! It really is the ideal family day trip to the seaside and with only a 20-ish minute walk from the train station to the beach, it’s perfect regardless of how you want to travel.
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r o f s e p r i e c h Rearmer weat w d hy an t l a he
Strawberry and Vanilla Cupcakes with Prosecco FROsting
• 200 g caster sugar • 200 g margarine/unsalted butter • 4 eggs • 200 g self-raising flour • 1 tsp baking powder • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 12 Fresh strawberries • Frosting • 220 g margarine/unsalted butter • 640 g icing sugar • 5-6 tbsp prosecco
METHOD 1. Heat the oven to 190°C / fan 170°C / gas 5. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake wrappers. 2. Cream together the butter and sugar. 3. Add the eggs and mix gently. 4. Add the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and continue to whisk together until everything is combined. 5. Divide the mixture evenly into the wrappers and bake for 15-20 minutes. 6. Take out of the oven and transfer to a wire rack. 7. While your cakes are cooling make your prosecco frosting.
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8. Cream the butter on its own for about 5 minutes on a medium speed. 9. Sift the icing sugar into the creamed butter and then mix together on a slow speed. Gradually increase the speed until it forms a thick paste. 10. Add the prosecco and whisk together for one minute. Set aside. 11. Cut a hole out of the centre of each cake and place a fresh strawberry into it. They should already be washed, the stalks taken off and the top is sliced off. 12. Once each cake has a strawberry in the centre, put your frosting into the piping bag with a nozzle inserted. Pipe each cake with a swirl and decorate as you wish I used a gold edible glitter pump. 13. Serve and enjoy! The cupcakes should last for 2-3 days. Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15-20 minutes Makes: 12 cupcakes
Savoury eggcups Perfect for lunch and picnics, these cups can be pimped with any ingredients you like (we chose ham, sweet corn and spring onion for ours). Kids can help to prepare the fillings, whisk the eggs up and cut and roll out the bread circles… it’s a great and simple dish to make together.
INGREDIENTS • 4 slices bread • 1 teaspoon olive oil
Gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soya, nuts, top 14 allergens and can be prepared vegan. High in fibres, and protein.
• 3 medium free-range eggs • 3 spring onions • 3 slices of ham • Small handful of frozen sweet corn • Small pinch of ground black pepper
Tear n Share Focaccia INGREDIENTS For the dough: • 250g MIMEN White Bread flour • 20g Naturbit Psyllium fibre • 260g water • 3g salt • 7g dried yeast (for hand baking) For the topping: • Couple of tbsp. of good quality virgin olive oil • Sea salt • Fresh rosemary or any other fresh or dried herbs you prefer, like oregano, or thyme • Red pesto • Your choice of topping: black olives, sun dried tomatoes, chorizo
METHOD 1. Measure the 260g water into a clean bowl, add the salt, the dried yeast, and stir until it dissolves. Add the 20g Psyllium fibre, and start whisking immediately with a whisk, scraping off any stuck fibre from the sides of the bowl, until it dissolves evenly. The mixture will thicken within seconds. Stir in the 250g flour with a cooking spoon to begin with, then use your hands. This will be a sticky job at first. Once you have worked the dough into a ball turn it out onto a clean, floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Next; roll it out to a rectangle, to 0.5-1 cm thickness, using a rolling pin, then place it on a non-stick or lined tray.
2. Using the back of a butter knife create lines across the dough as if you were cutting it, but only pressing the knife into the dough half way, without cutting it through. Divide the dough into squares (each square should be large enough to hold an olive, like a small pillow). 3. Baste the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Now fill the lines you have created with the pesto, using a spoon or a knife.
4. Sprinkle with fresh or dried herbs, and lastly place your choice of topping – olives, sun dried tomatoes, chorizo, or you can alternate these, do what you prefer - into the middle of each square, gently pressing them into the dough.
2. Using a large round cutter, press circles out of each slice of bread (keep the crusts to use in bread pudding or for bread crumbs!).
5. Place the tray in a lukewarm oven (turn on the oven on 100C for 1 minute, turn it off, then place the dough in) or on a sunny windowsill for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. 6. Pre-heat the oven for 200C (fan assisted) and bake your focaccia for 25 minutes. 7. Once it is ready place it on a wire rack to cool. 8. Enjoy and share!
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes Resting time: Approx. 1h Serves: 5-7 people
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 5).
3. Take a rolling pin and roll out/flatten each circle. 4. Brush 4 rounds of a muffin tin tray with a little olive oil. Press the bread in to the muffin holes. 5. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs then snip in your spring onions with scissors, and tear the ham in to small pieces. Add in a handful of frozen sweet corn, season with the black pepper and give a final mix. 6. Pour the mixture evenly in to the 4 bread cups then pop in the oven (adults do this bit!) for 20 minutes or until the egg mix has completely set. 7. Once cooked, remove from the oven (adults do this bit!) then leave to rest for ten minutes before removing the cups and eating them (ensure they’re not too hot for little mouths first!
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www.mummysginfund.co.uk Photograph by Rachel Rimell 18 | MGF SPRING 2017