Archive for Things to do

It’s been a while since our last post but I hope you’ll forgive us!

Recently, I’ve been having a lot of fun reading some other people’s blogs so thought it’d be nice to share them with you.  Some of them occasionally contain a bit of naughty language but not too much, so please do not hold me responsible.

 Below are a list of my current favourites which I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I do!

1 – The Bibsey Blog
The Bibsey Blog is an absolutely fantastic (and my current personal favourite) written by a mother who moved to spain with her husband whilst heavily pregnant.  It’s all about her trials and tribulations of having left the rat race for London and the birth and raising of their little girl in rural Andalucia. 
She has a fantastic (and some times way too honest) sense of humour and is a great read for new parents and nannies alike.
In her own words:

“Here I will write from the perspective of a newbee to Spain, and babies, about the ups and downs of moving to Spain and the joys and humiliations of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.  I believe there is no such thing as Too Much Information. So, there may occasionally be a word or two on constipation, bowel movements (not just Bibsey’s, although it is of course a favourite topic) and piles.

Bibsey Mama”

2 – I Saw your Nanny Blog
I Saw Your Nanny is a fantastic blog written by nannies across the world.  It is an open website that nannies may submit blog posts to, for sharing information, experiences or just getting steam off their chest.  The posts are moderated and are all entirely confidential allowing nannies to discuss issues without fear of upsetting their families but also providing advice and information on becoming a better nanny.
The issue of nannies and au pairs is a complicated one due to confidentiality (this can best be explained by this particular scenario found in the guardian), but this website seems to have got it right.  It’s not just a great resource for nannies and au pairs or mother’s help, it’s also a fantastic blog for parents to better understand how to treat their nanny for a happier working relationship.

3 – A Dad’s Life
Art Pennom is quite widely known for his web column ‘A Dad’s Life’.  This was a difficult one for me – if I’m entirely honest I wasn’t hugely excited about it as I found it all a bit too serious, however many friends are big fans of the blog and apparently it’s fantastic.  I’ve been told this so many times that I thought it would be rude not to include it.

4 – English Dad in Moscow
In a similar vein to the Bibsey Blog, ‘English Dad in Moscow’ is rather surprisingly, a blog written by a SAHD (stay at home dad) living in Moscow and all of the trials and tribulations that brings.  I really enjoyed this blog as it is very tongue-in-cheek but also brutally honest and one that I think many parents would be well equipped to sympathise with.

3 – A Modern Mother
Writen by an ex marketing executive called Susanna, ‘A Modern Mother’ is a really funny and honest blog.  Susanna is not only a fantastic blogger, but is also credited with starting the British Mummy Bloggers Network which in itself is an increadble source for a blog addict like myself.
In her own words -
“You need to be aware that I sometimes blur the lines between reality and something more interesting than reality. If you were at home all day with the kids you would do the same thing.”
Very funny and a great read.

Well, that’s my list and I hope you like it.  If anyone has any suggestions of family or childcare blogs that I should read it would be fantastic.  Maybe if there weren’t so many good blogs like the ones on this list, I would spend more time writing my own rather than reading other people’s, but I’ve only got myself to blame for that one.

If you write one of these blogs and would like to thank us for giving you some free promotion, we wouldn’t turn it down either.

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Categories : Family, Things to do

Riots Across London – We’d Rather Make Playdough!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Riots in London and Making Playdough with Children

It’s been a while since I last posted here at Olives Childcare and a lot has happened since!  We’ve moved house and then been surrounded by some of the worst rioting the UK has ever seen.

Our overseas partner agencies have been wonderful with some of their words of support which we are extremely grateful for.  In return, we’ve been in constant contact with all of our nannies, au pairs, maternity nurses and mother’s helpers that we supply to make sure that they’re safe and secure along with the children they look after.  Fortunately, no one has experienced anything first hand and we hope it stays that way.

It is such a shame what is happening, especially with the Olympics around the corner (which incidentally we’re very excited about here at Olives Childcare).

Anyway, I won’t linger on the shameful behaviour of a small minority of young people.  We have more important things to cover.

How to Make Playdough

Making playdough is not only great fun, but you can also play with it afterwards!  What’s not to like?

As any playdough connoisseur will know, there are two main varieties of playdough:  Cooked and uncooked.  Why?  I hear you ask.  What is the difference?  As with most things, it is a personal preference.  I, as a more mature playdough user prefer cooked, however for some of the younger children we may look after both the danger of cooking and attention span needed may prove too much, so we shall begin with uncooked playdough.

Uncooked Playdough
1/2 a cup of salt
1/2 a cup of water
1 cup of flower
Food dye (the more garish the better!)

1 – First, find a good space to work on, preferably the floor.  Cover the area with newspaper to save a huge cleanup operation.  Also, get a medium to large sized bowl to mix the playdough in.  It can be fun for the older kids to be each tasked with finding the items themselves.
2 – Ask the little ones to measure out for you a cup of flower and add it to the bowl.  Next, ask them to measure out half a cup of salt and put it into the bowl followed by (lastly) half a cup of water.
3 – Give the child/children a spoon and ask them to mix the ingredients until it’s no longer too watery or floury.  We’re going for a nice and even mushy mix!
4 – Next is my personal favourite – adding the food dye.  I usually pick luminous lime greens, pinks and oranges, but then I have terrible taste and love bright colours.  Just add a few drops (don’t over do it or things will get messy when it comes to play time!) then have the children knead the dough until it has a uniform colour.

That’s it!  You’ve now got some playdough and here’s where the fun starts.  Your creations are only limited by your imagination!

I’ll do a future blog on the connoisseur’s playdough – the cooked variety.  Slightly more tricky, more ingredients, however more elastic.

One last thing – Keep the playdough away from pets!  It smells like food but has a high salt content.  Children usually notice after the first taste, but I hear that pets can ignore it to ill effect.

Have fun!

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Things to do in London with kids

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Something I regularly get asked by nannies and especially au pairs who are new to the country is ‘where are the best places to take children for a day out’.  I’ve discovered some wonderful places in London for children since I’ve worked in the childcare industry and had some pretty fun days out at them myself! 

Below are my three absolute favourite places to go – I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

The Horniman Museum
A personal favourite of mine is the fantastic Horniman Museum.  This absolute gem was founded by the Victorian tea trader Frederick Horniman, in 1901. 
There is a library with a grass roof, a free aquarium with tropical coral reefs and a British Pond life display, a fantastic taxidermy collection, display of antique musical instruments, masks, along with the absolutely delightful garden. 
On top of all this, there is an animal farmyard along with concerts in the band stand!  If you intend to go – please invite me!
Transport: 13 minutes train from London Bridge, Buses – 176, 185, 197, 356, P4
100 London Road,
Forest Hill
London SE23 3PQ

The Kids Zone at the National Army Museum
Whenever I’ve taken children I’ve been looking after to the Kids Zone at the National Army Museum the hardest thing has always been getting them to leave!  Nannies and au pairs love taking advantage of the Kids Zone as it’s a wonderful safe environment where the children can go completely wild!
There’s a great castle fortress, a rock climbing wall, slides and tunnels, and you can dress up in solidier’s uniforms. 
For children that aren’t feeling quite so energetic, there is a reading tree and tables where you can draw, as well as a kitchen play set.  There’s even a soft play area for babies, so there’s plenty of fun for all ages!
Nearest Tube Stations: Sloane Square, Victoria
National Army Museum
Royal Hospital Road,
London SW3 4HT

The Diana Memorial Playground
Completely free, inspired by the story of Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie and a great play area with a huge wooden pirate ship, what’s not to like?
Children can ‘walk the plank’ and child carers can find their inner child too.  The pirate ship is fantastic and the children can climb all over it,  there are teepees, sculptures, sensory tunnels, swings, slides, climbing frames, a story telling and music area, all surrounded by lovely plants and trees.
Unaccompanied adults are not allowed in Neverland and the gate is locked for everyone’s safety.
For those who can’t quite keep up all day with the little ‘Lost Boys and Girls’, there is an open air cafe selling fresh sandwiches, salads, tea and coffee along with a small selection of hot meals.  There are nappy changing facilites in the toilet area too.
Nearest Tube Stations: High Street Kensington, Notting Hill Gate
Kensington Gardens
London W2