Social Commentary

Notting Hill Nurseries & The Rise of the Notting Hill Yummy Mummy

Baby chic

I was first introduced to the world of Notting Hill Yummy Mummies 10 years ago when I was still in the world of Little Miss Notting Hill (www.littlemissnottinghill.com), brunching at the old Electric, Sunday afternoons at the Westbourne, and late nights at Montgomery Place, blissfully unaware of the darker side of Notting Hill. I met ‘Francesca’ through an ex-P.E. boyfriend, who ended up being instrumental in my rise to being a Notting Hill Yummy Mummy. She taught me everything there is to know about motherhood: ‘1. Get Mr. Teoh on the phone as soon as you are pregnant and book your suite at the Portland Hotel & Spa (for those of you who don’t know, it really is a hospital, but their concierge/bellhop is very good, breakfast is 5 star, and request the Dutch Bowen therapist, she is lovely) 2. The day he/she is born, send the sperm-donor to the gates of ‘that’ school with the to-die-for school uniforms (Wetherby/Pembridge Hall), application in hand and stop by ‘the’ nursery on the same day (one of the ‘famous five’). 3. Discipline, Persistence, Perseverance and Consistency (I wasn’t sure if she meant that for me or for my children, but it worked for both). That’s all you need to know about parenting,’ she assured me. I followed all of her advice and here I am today, a Notting Hill Yummy Mummy.

Only after the fact did I realise how much time and money Francesca saved me. I avoided hours of research, headaches wondering which nursery to send M to, visiting all the below nurseries, or paying a ‘school consultant’ hundreds of pounds to research the nurseries before doing all of it again myself . I once almost veered off track and asked about a Bilingual nursery, but my Alpha mum friend told me ‘Don’t do it. Your child will be put in the Z class at Pembridge/Wetherby and that’s the end of it. You can forget about Oxbridge.’ ‘What’s the Z class?’ I asked wide-eyed, innocent and ignorant. ‘It’s for the slow kids that the teachers ignore.’ After that, I thought it best to take Francesca’s advice, and do what I was told.
The first day of nursery, nervous, scouring for new friends, wearing a new outfit, and some crying involved, I felt 7 again on the first day of school, while my child was happily playing with the toy kitchen. (Thankfully, I wasn’t aware that some parents were googling each other, otherwise I would have really lost it) but all has turned out just fine. Here’s my piece of advice for new mums choosing a nursery: stop giving yourselves headaches, women! They are all great nurseries! Which is why everyone bribes and steals to get in, but each has its own personality, which is what I will focus on below. Once in, you just need to stay away from the competitive Alpha and Tiger mums, be polite to the billionaires (you never know when you’ll be needing their private jet) and somewhere in there, in every nursery, you will find clever, interesting, genuine parents that you may become friends with. Just make sure you send in an application as soon as your child is born. That is imperative. If not, send them cards and photos of your child each month, cookies may help, or pretend that you’ve just moved to London, cry a little, and they will take pity on you (There are always spaces once offers are declined. This strategy works well at Acorn).
So here I am paying it back by spreading Francesca’s wisdom and giving you the ‘real’ low-down on the ‘Famous Five’ Notting Hill Nurseries. For Free.

‘FAMOUS FIVE’ NOTTING HILL NURSERIES

‘A is for… A-List ACORN NURSERY’
Best for: Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty and the Kool Kids
McCartney and Jagger are common last names at this nursery. A-List Hollywood actors send their kids here when they are filming their latest flick in London. Film directors, news presenters and politicians all send their kids here. You have to be ready to mingle with the fash-pack, as you will have to compete with shoe designers, who probably design their children’s own shoes, and a famous fashion designer with rock royalty genes whose latest very cute, kids see-through waterproof raincoat will put your child’s Gap raincoat to shame. But not all fashion designers are welcome. One famous A-list fashion designer (one half of an A-list ‘Golden’ couple) was rumoured not to have gotten a place because when she visited she wore big, oversized sunglasses and never smiled (I wouldn’t smile either if I only are one green apple a day). Madonna apparently was rejected and Richard Curtis may have based the Christmas Play in his film ‘Love Actually’ on this nursery’s Christmas play. There are ‘Daddy mornings’ which involve daddies coming for a coffee morning to encourage daddy and child bonding (which really just highlights the fact that these daddies need their assistants to schedule me-and-child-time in their busy work schedules). A whole article in the Telegraph was written about this nursery in 2004 which will give you a flavour of this nursery, but also of all the nurseries in the area: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1459538/The-only-education-you-need-is-Acorn-and-Oxford.html.
Ofsted rating: Good (2011). http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/105673

‘M is for… Mini Royals at the MINORS NURSERY’
Best for: English Royalty and Wannabe English Royalty
This nursery was made famous by Lady Di dropping off her precious princes William and Harry at Minors Nursery in the eighties. The nursery is rather on the small side with little outdoor space and the toys are so pristine and clean, they look like they’ve never been used. The parents say that this nursery is ‘all about the children’ so there is less parent-competition around once you are in (the competition remains behind closed doors during the application process here). There is a new headmistress who started a few years ago, whom some parents feel is rather cold and on the snobby side, especially when she explains that Minors stands out for ‘not being a nursery in a dirty church hall’ (what’s wrong with a dirty church hall? They probably had more fun there and that’s probably where most of these mums went to nursery). One parent given the tour of the nursery felt that the children seemed a bit snotty (not the cold-virus-nose-snotty kind but the spoiled-brat kind) and the girls were all in expensive princess dresses (not the Disney kind, more the Melissa Wyndham kind), which scared them off.
Ofsted report: Outstanding (2011). http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/EY295790

‘S is for… Sexy Dads and Stepford wives at STRAWBERRY FIELDS’
Best for: The PTA mum and hot-daddy-watching/drooling
Strawberry fields earned its reputation some years ago as having the best-looking-dad-of-all-nursery-dads. ‘He just walked by…’ one mum would say, without even mentioning his name, and all the other mums will sigh in unison. This was one good enough reason to send your kids here, but I will try to remain unbiased and will fill another whole post on the virtues on this very famous ex-football player as the ‘World’s Best Dad’ another time (who by the way does the drop off and pick up more than any other dad, takes his daughter to Granger for lunch after nursery, and then drops her off to playdates and BabyBop). As one woman manning a booth at the Christmas fair was overheard saying ‘Every woman should have an accessory like that.’ But it’s the mummies to be afraid of at this nursery. There are some who send their nannies to stand in line for them at the Christmas play and then use their twiglet, sharpened elbows to bulldozer through the line 10 minutes before the start to ensure front row seats. Then there are the panic-attack-inducing mums who organise the Christmas fair (the Christmas Fair deserves another blog to itself). Apart from those details, the nursery itself is wonderful, the staff is strict but loving, the children are adorable, the nursery feels spacious and welcoming, having the use of the large adjacent church hall for physical education, christmas plays, easter hat parades and farm animal visits. Having said all that, the parents are extremely involved, if that is your thing, and there are parents’ nights out at the Lonsdale, lunches at Osteria, and Pub Quizzes all organised by the Class and School Representatives and there are some lovely international parents to have coffee with at Kitchen & Pantry before or after pick up and drop off.
Ofsted: Outstanding (2013). http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/EY456623

‘R is for… Respite or Rejects? at ROLFE’S’
Best for: Those who are just afraid of all of the above. This nursery is part of the Alpha Plus Group, which has Pembridge Hall, Wetherby and Minors in its roster, so comes from a very good pedigree. Rolfe’s is the opposite of the Minors, with children running around in the big open area on the ground floor, playing with sand, and getting their hands dirty in the outdoor space. It all seemed like good fun. It is still very good, the parents love it and the new nursery premise is brand new, but for some the space has lost its charm and coziness of the Ken Park Road space, where it used to be. Some of the mums choose Rolfe’s in hope that they are shielding their children from the Alpha mums and Bling from the other nurseries, but they can’t escape. There are still chauffeur-driven children being dropped off, mums who give Harrod’s presents to the teachers at Christmas and mums asking other mums ‘So, are you teaching your child Mandarin yet?’
Ofsted: Good (2013). http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/EY448774

‘L is for… La La Land at LADBROKE SQUARE MONTESSORI’
Best for: The Anti-Bling Notting Hill Hippy Chick
For the remaining Hippy Chicks who live in Notting Hill and decidedly want to stay away from the Hedge Fund/Banker/Bling crowd (although don’t be duped, there are still children living in £13 million mansions backing onto communal gardens), most opt for Ladbroke Square Montessori. There is less competition, so it is easier to get in and is described as a ‘warm and happy place.’ It is not known for its hard discipline, but more for its carefree approach, unlike some of the other nurseries above mentioned. When touring the nursery, one parent asked: ‘How do you discipline a child if one child hits another child?’ ‘We ask the child to apologise to the other child.’ ‘What if they don’t want to apologise?’ ‘We encourage them to say sorry but if they don’t want to say sorry, we don’t make them.’ So, if you’re OK with that, I am sure your child will love this nursery.
Ofsted: Outstanding (2011). http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/105707

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

twitter: @NHyummymummy

p.s. Check out my mention in this Saturday Times Magazine 30/8/14 in the articles on London Nurseries & Schools!!! xx

Standard
Photos, Social Commentary

The Serpentine Summer Party 2014

SerpentinePartyInviteNHYM

(Photos all by NHYM copyright 2014)

Peak Summer Party Week

Apparently, this week is Peak Party Week for Summer Parties (quoted from the Evening Standard 2/7/14) and if there is one summer party to go to and one invite to receive, it is to the Serpentine Summer Party (Cartier Polo is passé, Wimbledon becomes a bit repetitive, and it wouldn’t be fair to compare it to Garden/Country/School Parties). It is the gallery’s biggest fundraiser of the year and showcases a Pavilion designed by some of the world’s most influential architects, from Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, to Jean Nouvel and Oscar Niemeyer, who have all exhibitied in the past. It is also the trendiest party of the year, mingling artists, architects, fashion designers with A-list Hollywood stars of the moment, Supermodels and London socialites, Rock Stars, and Power Mad Business Tycoons.

SSPPavillionSmiljanRadicNHYM

First, the art…

This year, a Chilean architect Smiljan Radic brought a giant alien spacepod to Hyde Park. It is one of the strangest pavilions so far, (I am partial to the Japanese architects, really liking Sou Fujimoto’s pavilion last year and the 2009 Pavilion by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa), but the directors, Julia Peyton Jones and Hans-Ulbrich Obrist see a vision in it: ‘While enigmatically archaic, in the tradition of romantic follies, Radic’s designs for the pavilion also look excitingly futuristic, appearing like an alien space pod that has come to rest on a Neolithic site.’

SSPPavillionSmiljanRadicNHYM2

The Frog and The Yanks have landed in London in a Chilean Spacepod

Not only is this party about art, but it is becoming about international power players and this year’s party was co-hosted by some of the most powerful men in the world; Michael Bloomberg, (who recently became Chairman of the Serpentine, American ex-New York mayor, finance publisher, billionaire, 16th richest in the world), Francois-Henri Pinault, (French CEO of a luxury conglomerate, Kering, which owns Gucci, Stella McCartney, Bottega Venetta, St. Laurent amongst others, 3rd richest man in France), and Andre Balasz (Hungarian-American hotelier extraordinaire and taste-maker worth $450 Million, who recently opened the blazing hot Chiltern Firehouse). And in the midst of this power threesome are stories of politics and money, dating Hollywood actresses, Supermodel ex-girlfriends baby mommas, and more gossip and scandal than in a Danielle Steele novel.

SerpentinepartypeopleNHYM

Michael Bloomberg takes over the world

Michael Bloomberg, known for being a major philanthropist has already donated a large sum of money to help build an extension of the Serpentine Gallery, the Sackler gallery. This is just one of the ways of making his name in the London Social Circle, along with building Bloomberg Place in the city with Fosters architects, befriending David Cameron with party donations, and launching London’s Technology Week with Boris Johnson a few weeks ago. He already conquered New York by ‘buying’ his candidacy with more personal money than any other candidate (and did a relatively good job of it, being a Robin Hood type, decreasing New York’s deficit by cutting costs and spending his own personal money to compensate the losses). He now has his sights on London and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to try to run against Old Boris for the Mayor candidacy in London. The Etonian vs. the Billionaire. Perhaps we should take it as a compliment that he is now turning to London as his home, post NY, but perhaps it is his ambitions that have grown bigger than the U.S. alone. Unfortunately, Bloomberg was nowhere to be seen at the party, likely too busy planning on how to take over China.

SSPBoxNHYM

The Co-Hosts: Francois Henri Pinault and Andre Balasz (Oh, and Brendan Mullane creative director of Brioni and Marina Abramovic, artist)

The other billionaire moving to London is Francois-Henri Pinault from France, who is known for his love scandals in great French style, having fathered two children in the same year with Supermodel Linda Evangelista and Superstar Hollywood Actress, Salma Hayek (I’m not sure his good looks got them into bed…). Andre Balasz, also known for dating Hollywood actresses (famously dated Uma Thurman post-Ethan Hawke, and the comedienne Chelsea Handler), also has his sights set on Hotel-World-Domination after the ridiculously successful London opening of Chiltern Firehouse, where everyone ended up for the Serpentine after-party.

SSPKeiraKnightelyNHYM

(Keira Knightely at the DJ Booth)

The Party

As we arrive, Princess Beatrice is being photographed, looking like a princess in her billowy, white, flowery bouffant dress, while we pass the hoards of paparazzi. The security this year is much more stringent than in the past years, promising some great people watching. Inside, Andre Balasz, being the consummate host, is chatting and smiling at my arrival. The Ladies of London cast positioned themselves at the entrance to expose themselves to the world and welcomed any photographic exposure. At the bar near the DJ Booth, I am fighting for a Watermelon Martini with Nick Grimshaw behind me and Zadie Smith on my left (who knew she was this beautiful) while Cara Delivigne sipped her cocktail and watched on, being her kooky self. She is wearing a somewhat subdued, classical black Mulberry evening gown and carrying the latest Mulberry bag, of her own design. She is rather cool and beautiful in person. She eventually wanders off to chat to Keira Knightely who is at the DJ Booth trying to figure out who the guest performer will be tonight.

SSPGraysonPerryNHYM

(Grayson Perry)

People-Watching

The people-watching is quite simply spectacular (not quite the Met Ball or the Oscars but pretty impressive for London standards), with Actors, Models, Magazine Editors, Fashion designers, Business Tycoons, Artists and all the other London’s scenesters and trendsetters everywhere I look (you can see all the dresses on the Hello, Vogue and Huffpost websites): Bradley Cooper is looking dapper next to Francois-Henri Pinault who made an appearance without his wife, Suki Waterhouse is looking fab in pale pink Burberry although a little too slender for my taste. Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Nancy D’el Olio, colourful as always, are yearly regulars. Orlando Bloom looks rather dashing with his hair pulled back in a fitted suit while Lily Allen is looking funky with multicoloured hair. Noel Gallagher has finally made it to the Serpentine this year he says, and chats to Bradley.

SerpentinePartyPeopleNHYM2

Keira, Cara and Alexa: the Belles of the Ball

Keira, Cara and Alexa are already setting the scene on the dance floor for the surprise guest. Natalie Massanet is looking a bit tired this year, she must be working too hard, while Sir Philip Green is here with his daughter. Nikki Hilton looks a little lost in the crowds, although pulling off a great black and white Diane von Vurstenberg jumpsuit. Gemma Arterton is looking luscious in her red midriff baring dress and red matching lips. The fash pack is out in force; Matthew Williamson, Alice Temperely, Naomi Campbell, Lily Cole, Arizona Muse are only some of the few. And I spot a number of NHN and NHYMs I recognise, and while I am busy people watching, Mr. C is busy being chatted up by a 20something New York socialite.

SSPSurfingNHYM

(The Electronic Surfboard)

Inside the gallery is a dedicated room for the football fans following USA vs Belgium, being projected on a wall in a man room, with an inflatable bouncy castle and electronically controlled surf board, a basketball hoop and a dance arcade (a favourite of Alexa Chung and Andre Balasz).

SSPPharrellsinging1

(Pharrell!!!)

I ‘Get Lucky’ and I am ‘Happy’

As the sun sets on a beautiful evening and crowd in the Park, arrives the highlight of the night in the form of our favourite pint-sized, hat-wearing, artist/singer/producer Pharrell Williams. (Last year’s performance by the Saturdays was forgettable, the year before was Azalea Banks who sang 212 while I was boogying between Benedict Cumberbatch and Arizona Muse, and a few years before, Dizzie Rascal made us get rowdy to ‘Holiday.)’ It doesn’t get better than this. Pharrell is an artist and a magician with his hit songs and collaborations, who inspires 3 year olds to 70 year olds. And as he sang ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Happy’ under the stars of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery, there is nowhere else to be tonight, and just for tonight I truly am feeling pretty ‘Happy’ and I’ve gotten ‘Lucky’ as I held hands with Pharrell and danced the night away between Cara, Keira and Alexa.

SSPPharrellcloseupNHYM

 

Standard
Social Commentary

Quote of the Day: ‘But mummy, only daddies work!’

…M’s response to my telling her that I am going back to work.

The Challenges of the Career Supermom, the Part-time Mumpreneur and the SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mum)

images-1

I once had the potential to be what most people would call a ‘high flyer.’ I entered one of the finest graduate programmes in the country, acquired multiple letters past by name, got a number of degrees under my belt, wrote articles as an ‘expert’, until, that is, I had children. Then my perception of what was important and where I was going in my career was overtaken by how much my baby had slept/drank/cried/pooped/peed, and I forgot how to spell my own name. I went back to work after a year but was torn between the guilt when I was working, and being brain-dead when I was singing ‘Gymbo the clown goes up and down’ for the 100th time.

Eventually, the guilt, stress and pure exhaustion won out and I stopped working completely to see where things would take me, despite my husband’s fear that this meant a withering bank account (which by the way he now agrees was completely unfounded). The Sunday Times Style Magazine last week quoted that Generation X are ‘those aged 30-49, who are likely to be in the thick of child-rearing or taking care of elderly relative, are the most likely (48%) to say that work eats into family time. This is the most time-squeezed, stressed group of all, and huge numbers of that generation’s high flyers dropped out to raise their children.’ A few years on, I am still trying to figure out the right balance, between my children’s needs (being with them 100% and becoming a neurotic helicopter parent), and my needs (needing actual adult conversation, whose main subject of conversation doesn’t revolve around sleep training or school admissions).

For X number of years, parenthood takes over and no matter how hard you may fight it, this time inevitably has to be dedicated to your children and their needs, until they go away, some earlier than others to boarding school, and then to University. But then, those parents who spent all their time helicoptering are left all alone wondering where did all this time go and feeling the empty nest syndrome. The others, after being overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted trying to manage a full time career and full time parenthood, may end up feeling regret at 60 for not spending enough time with their children when they were young. Currently, all the mothers I know are trying to balance, juggle, and manage being a mother while continuing to develop their own ‘self.’

 What Kind of Mother Are You?! The Career Supermom, the Part-time Mumpreneur, or the SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mum)

images-2

The Career Supermom: 

As it turns out, all the research shows that the career supermom is happier than the full time Stay-At-Home-Mom (of course, this research doesn’t consider the Notting Hill SAHM who have full time nannies). (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/study-working-moms-are-ha_n_1152202.html) Career supermoms are valued in society, which values women like Nathalie Massanet, Sheryl Sandberg and Hillary Clinton who managed to be working mothers who have excelled in their industry. Full time working mums say they enjoy work because they are intellectually satisfied, earn great money and enjoy the social aspect of work. Of course, the career supermom will always have the risk that their children call the nanny ‘mummy’ (which has happened more times than I wish to explain), and they will have to manage their guilt when they miss their child’s first steps and have to explain to their child why they were the only parent who wasn’t at the school christmas play.

roajkvtfokwe9nbz25zmfw

But apparently, for the working supermoms, the guilt is not strong enough for them not to work, as it was found that the majority of women do not feel guilty about being at work instead of at home. Many super-high-fliers I know, are much happier being at work than at home, but they are also happy to sacrifice the time with their children, knowing that their children are safe and happy with their nannies/daycare. Sheryl Sandberg discusses her rise to power managing motherhood and career by ‘moulding’ her hours to fit these two roles but she emphasises that she had to make a lot of sacrifices. She admits to not having it all, and to feeling like a lousy mother a lot of the time (http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/facebooks_sheryl_sandberg_no_one_can_have_it_all). Sue Palmer, an advocate on literacy, says that these educated, career women find it easier to control their work than their kids, therefore feel happier at work than at home, although biologically, women were meant to bear and raise children. (http://www.mothersathomematter.co.uk/mahm-blog/447-what-makes-a-happy-mum)

From a child development point of view, she describes children’s needs:

*In the first couple of years babies and toddlers need ‘constant, consistent, one-on-one, loving care’ from a primary attachment figure. Doesn’t have to be mum. As time goes on, the care can be shared with other loving attachment figures, e.g. dad.
*Between ages two and three is a grey area – it probably depends on the individual child.
*From around three, children benefit from being with other children for a few hours a day, so a half-day at nursery is probably a good thing.
*The older children get, the more they need to move beyond the family so they’re probably ready for a full school day from around 6/7.
*BUT throughout childhood, they still need loving care around the edges of the school day – time with their family, as well as time with a trusted adult ready to hand while they play.

The one thing I can’t get my head around is that not only do these supercareer moms work 70+ hour weeks, but when they come home, they often are still in charge of the household/cooking/childcare etc… even having equal or greater pay than their husbands. This is where women have failed in their fight for women’s lib. These women end up with the work, the house and the children to look after. Most men have not taken their half of the house-work equal to how much women now work. Of course, to the few women who have these perfect husbands who work and take care of the house, consider yourselves very lucky.

The Part-Time ‘Mumpreneur’

images-7

Part-time working mums are meant to be the happiest since they manage to spend time with their children, as well as stay in the working community. But unfortunately, this doesn’t always work out, as eventually those mums feel torn in both directions; when at work they think about home, and when at home think about work. Working part-time mums, consider themselves ‘involved moms and talented employees.’ They enjoy the social aspects of work, being challenged and fulfilled on the job, and the increased financial stability (which translates into balancing the power in the relationship between husband and wife). They are although, probably the most stressed out of the three groups because they have the whole domestic responsibility as well as the job responsibility, therefore pressure coming from all angles. The career woman can leave the majority of child-rearing to the nanny, and the SAHM can leave the money-making to their husbands.

As mentioned in my last post, mumpreneurs are the new, hot, trend among NHYMs. I was having a conversation with an above career supermom; fund manager, part-time internationally renowned artist, mother of two, LSE graduate, loving wife, about mumpreneurs, when she condescendingly snubbed the term ‘mumpreneur’ telling me it was really just a hobby for these women. But when I asked her when did a hobby becomes a business, she replied that ‘Anything that makes money is a business,’ so all of the mumpreneurs I know, genuinely do make money, therefore are businesses (even if they are in a privileged position of not having to contribute to the mortgage payments, but we are in Notting Hill after all).

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Mumpreneurs set out to make money, whether in designing clothes or jewellery, creating a food business, or becoming yoga gurus. It takes guts to set out any company on your own, with the looming reality that you may fail and that everyone you know will be talking about it. You invest your money, you create a website, you hire a tax account or do your own taxes, you learn to understand marketing and advertising, you manage your inflow and outflow of costs and revenue, and all these things that some of these women may never have done before. They become marketers, advertisers, accountants, graphic designers, web designers, business managers and the cleaner, all rolled into one. If anything, it will give them knowledge for the next business they try to set up. I admire these women for doing it, and yes, most of them will fail. Actually, 82% will fail, since only 18% of any entrepreneur will succeed, in any business.

Many of these women will have worked in a corporate environment before deciding to go at it on their own, and will use their past skills to start their own company. As a strong supporter of small businesses, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, I admire and salute all these women, trying to juggle being there for their children, while creating a business or company. Annabel Karmel started like this, Ella’s Kitchen as well. They inject money into the economy, they are useful to society, they learn or hone new skills for the future, they stay interested and current in their industry, and they strive to be a part of working society.

Notting Hill Mumpreneurs

images-6

A number of superwomen, beautiful, creative mumpreneurs have approached me since the beginning of the blog, promoting their passion to me, and as a woman/mother/entrepreneur supporter, I wanted to share some ‘mumpreneurs,’ (some who have approached me, some I have heard through the NH grapevine) who have taken the courageous plunge into entrepreneurship doing what they are passionate about, often from a completely different career background.

Food and Beverage: Ex-model and LSE grad, Bodil Blaine is starting a war with Nespresso, making ethical coffee at CRU Kafe teaming up with an established Canadian Entrepreneur (http://crukafe.co.uk). Chika Russell is importing West African treats the UK, which have already been picked up by 5* hotels, and will soon be found in a number of high end department stores. (http://www.chikas.co.uk), Kara Rosen Diamond uses her marketing expertise by bringing cold pressed, organic juices from the US to the UK with Plenish Cleanse, which has already been featured in many magazines, including the Sunday Times Style Magazine (http://www.plenishcleanse.com/shop/).

Health and Fitness: Ex-Banker turned pilates and facial fitness guru, Carme Farre, gives you a six pack, a Kim Kardashian bum, and a wrinkle free face without any surgery (http://studiocarme.co.uk). Leslie Saglio, an ex-real estate expert brings Serene Social to the UK, ‘an international wellness, philanthropy and conscious networking community for women,’ organising rooftop yoga (http://serenesocial.com/events/serene-london-rise-up-weekly-rooftop-yoga-series), and on top of that she teaches kids and yin yoga in West London (http://www.lesliesaglio.com).

Design and Style: Ex-De Beers/Cartier artistic director, Raphaele Canot brings her creative expertise to her ‘timeless and beautiful’ art deco jewellery line (http://raphaelecanot.com). Alex Al Badar, an ex-model, has turned herself into fashion designer and collaborates with her sister who hand paints individual breezy and bright designs at Soler (http://www.soler.co.uk). Rachel Verghis has started a company called gooeyskins, http://www.gooeyskinshq.com, which designs cool and iconic cases for iPads, iPhones, and other gadgets.

Children: Two ex-lawyer mums, Caroline and Pinja have brought Scandinavian and Dutch children’s clothes, furniture and toys to the UK with their website http://www.fourfairiesandaprince.com. Marina Fogle and Dr. Chiara Hunt, Kate Middleton friends and entrepreneurial ex-party planners, recently started an NCT competitor class called the Bump, which doesn’t force breastfeeding for four years or advocate births without intervention, even when necessary (http://www.thebumpclass.com). And finally, watch out for Gudrun Wurm’ s organic baby body products this August at http://www.littlebutterflyorganic.com

The SAHM: Stay-At-Home-Mum

frabz-Stay-at-home-mom-What-my-friends-think-I-do-What-my-mom-thinks-I-d04598

The Stay-At-Home-Mum is considered be the unhappiest of the lot, with the most depressive illness and mental health issues as seen in the study mentioned before because of loneliness and feeling that society doesn’t value them as much as a working mother. Of course, this doesn’t apply to most Notting Hill SAHM, as they have the luxury to hire nannies and focus on their needs any time they want (There should be a study on SAHM with help and their life satisfaction).

Being a SAHM makes you financial dependent on your husband (usually, unless you have your own trust fund to rely on), and unfortunately gives him power in the relationship. He works hard, therefore you are responsible for everything else outside the scope of work; keeping the house immaculate and clean, raising the children, having – the right- food prepared on the table at night, arranging school and playdates, grocery shopping, present buying, looking good for his work events and the list goes on. Some women feel guilty about their husbands working hard all week and feel indebted to them, while husbands resent their wives for having a ‘lady of leisure’ lifestyle. My mother was a typical SAHM who told me from a very young and tender age to go out there and have a career, have a job and be financially independent. This was the generation who pushed women’s lib and forced society to accept women as equal workers to men. Unfortunately, this has also brought on increased divorce rates through women’s independence, women marrying later and having more miscarriages and ivf babies than ever before.

stay-at-home-mom-does

Spending all day long with your children, and even meeting other similar like minded women can be fun and somewhat appealing for a certain amount of time, but two problems arise, one is helicopter parenting since these women’s sole focus of their attention are their children, which creates a needy, anxious and dependent child with poor coping skills (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nation-wimps/201401/helicopter-parenting-its-worse-you-think), and secondly, what about the longer term. In only a few years, their children will leave their home to go to school full time and then off they go to university and the empty nest syndrome will hit. What will they do then? It will be much harder to get back into the working world if they stopped working early on, and when their children are at university, what will they do to to keep their minds sharp and focussed? Having a ‘hobby’ or business will do that, whether or not actual money is actually exchanged or produced.

The Bottom Line:

In the end, no one has the perfect formula to being a happy mother, woman and worker. These are just a few questions to ask yourselves to determine what will make you the happiest and most satisfied in the long run. There are no right answers, unless you, your husband or your children are not happy. The bottom line for your children though is quite simple, says Sue Palmer. They need five things to have a healthy development:

1. Love

2. Discipline

3. Play

4. Language

5. Education

Let me know your thought on women, working mums, non-working mums, stay at home mums in the comments below! For the NH mumpreneurs out there, feel free to leave your comments about being a mumpreneur, or let us know what great business you have started!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

twitter: @NHyummymummy

Standard
Quote of the day, Social Commentary

‘A Day In the Life of A Notting Hill Yummy Mummy’

Quote of the Day: ‘I’m panting like a bulldog during a heatwave and sweating like a 60 year old man trying to have an orgasm on Viagra.’

Claudia_Schiffer_on_the_school_run_001_122_259lo

(All photos courtesy of the internet)

5:30am. ‘Waahhh!’ I hear screaming somewhere in the background through the BT monitor trying to wake me from my happy-beach-dream slumber. Please Stop. I ignore it. I am sure the noise will die down if I just pretend I don’t hear it. 10 minutes later, I am back to my beach-dream. I am exhausted from being up 4 times last night. 2x with the teething Baby A, and 2x with M, once because she had a bad dream, and the other to tell me she wants pasta for lunch.

6pm: ‘Mummmmmyyyy!!! Peeeeppeeee!’ Really? Hasn’t she been potty trained for years? I try to remember. But the potential thought that I may have to clean up her wet carpet mess if I don’t go, makes me get up to take her to the bathroom.

6:15am: More noise. This time louder. ”Wwwaaaah’ in one monitor. ‘Mummy!’ in the other. Both kids are up and screaming for attention. I guess I sympathise, since it’s been a whole 12 hours since they saw anyone but a teddy bear.

6:15am-7:30am: I’ve used all my tricks to entertain and convince them it’s still night-time and M replies ‘It’s light out, it’s not sleep time, it’s play time!’ How is it possible to be this exhausted by these two little angels (monsters)? I look at my watch every  minute. 30 more minutes until New Nanny shows up. 29 more minutes. 28 more minutes….

7:30am: Hurrah! New nanny is on time. I hand off my oompah loompah midgets and go back to my Haastens bed and Egyptian cotton thread. Ah. This is more like it. Until I realise that I promised myself to try that Zumba class, since I am surrounded by Claudia Schiffer and Elle McPherson types and I still look like K-Middy’s post-baby-St.Mary’s-Lindo-Wing-Photo.

1374609639_kate-middleton-prince-william-baby-zoom

8am: Breakfast with the girls. I’ve had 30 minutes to turn myself into someone slightly suitable for drop offs and pick ups, so I won’t be mistaken for the nanny again.

8:30am: New Nanny is in charge of Drop Offs and Baby Naps today, so I have a Full NHYM day ahead.

8:45am Off to Zumba! I am trying to get rid of the 5kg tire that has been stuck like super glue to my pre-baby-size-8-body since the birth of Baby A. It has been impossible to get rid of it: Dukan diet, 5:2 diet, only-eating-apples/pineapples/kale/pomegrenade diet, Bootcamp Pilates or Yoga. ‘This isn’t me, I’m a skinny girl stuck in a fat-girl’s body!’ I want to tell the mums I meet when they ‘up-and-down’ me. What’s worst, is that I have a full wardrobe of beautiful, gorgeous clothes that I may never wear again. I am stuck wearing elasticated waists for the rest of my life like an 80 year old, I think to myself.

8:50am On my way there, I pass by the trendy-twiglet-blonde-who-never-smiles NHN (Notting-Hill-Neighbour). I guess I wouldn’t smile either if my ex husband was cheating on me. But still, I see her almost every day and she barely acknowledges my existence. Must be something with fashionistas. They must be either hungry (which makes them grumpy), or angry.

9am: Zumba! I don’t know anyone here and I feel quite intimidated. There are about 35 women, size 8 and under, chatting to each other, and I am quite literally the elephant in the room.

9:05am: Oh, there’s someone I recognise, one-hit-wonder Trinny in the front row (I hear she had a successful fashion show on TV a lifetime ago, which was replaced by her fat-turned-skinny-gay-friend Gwok Kwan, and whose career is now non-existent. The difficulties of fame). More importantly, can someone tell me what she is doing with Charles Saatchi?! She is certainly not with him for his dashing good looks or charming, endearing character. Was she hibernating in Antartica when he throttled Nigella, divorced 3 times, and confessed to being a narcissistic, reclusive, egotist?? I want to go up to her and hug her and tell her she’s better than this.

article-0-18D6C7EC00000578-400_634x426

9:05am: There’s Pamela Anderson! Oh wait, that’s a skinnier, younger, and prettier version of her without the inflated boobs or lips.

9:15am: These women clearly come every day. They all have the ‘special Zumba shoes’ and all seem to know the moves even before Doni, the Zumba teacher, shows us. This Zumba class is like a game of Twister and I am definitely losing.

9:30am: I’m panting like a bulldog during a heatwave and sweating like a 60 year old man trying to have an orgasm on Viagra. Not a pretty sight.

10:00am: How much longer is this class?! I wonder if I can sneak out without anyone noticing, but I think about my tire, and I can’t go anywhere, I’m too tired and it’s too heavy for me to move. Again, I look at the clock to see when this torture will end.

10:15am: It’s wind down time. Finally. This class really isn’t for me.

10:30am: As I am leaving the Zumba class, looking my best, I see David Beckham leaving Bonpoint, arms full of Bonpoint, Caramel and Marie-Chantal bags. There’s certainly one lady in his life. He goes shopping for her, drops her off every day, looks at her adoringly and he is apparently just the loveliest guy, says my local butcher… (I’ve also figured out why his parents called him ‘David:’ after Michaelangelo’s David’s body!). Can someone tell me why Victoria never smiles; she’s super-rich, super-famous, she is now a bona-fide, super-designer, she has four super-adorable kids and a husband like THAT. What’s not to smile about?!

london-fashion-week-2013-6

11am: I stop by Austique on my way home, and while trying on girly goodies, I run into B.B., an impossibly leggy, beautiful, ex-model, LSE graduate, married to some Art Superstar who tells me about her new company she has started, producing ethical coffee. You see, to be a NHYM it isn’t enough being beautiful, smart, size 8 and under, rich and married to a super successful husband, you now must own your own company and be successful at it (and save the world while you’re at it!). This is the new trend for NHYMs; to be your own boss and become a ‘mumpreneur (Post about mumpreneurs coming up soon).’ Me and my tire are feeling even more deflated.

11:30am: I’m rushing home to take a shower to get rid of all of that Zumba sweat, check in with New Nanny that all is well at home and school. Finally I spend time with Baby A who has been neglected since her birth, give her lunch and sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ for her nap before heading off to lunch at the Electric with my two Scandi friends K & C.

1pm: I am the first to arrive. Just as I am about to think that The Electric is full of bespectacled, middle-aged, writers in plaid shirts, Paloma Faith walks in and sits in the booth across from me. She is the last Mohican of Notting Hill Cool. NH is not full of NHYMs and yuppies after all.

1:10pm: K arrives 7 month pregnant, but doesn’t even look pregnant. I look more pregnant than she does. She is radiant and glowing. Which is giving me morning sickness, even though there is no way I could even be pregnant.

1:30pm We are finally happily eating our salads and soups while talking Europen real estate, schools, and healthcare and all I can do is stare at them trying to find a flaw. White perfect teeth? Check (Must get my teeth whitened one of these days). Always smiling? Check (They are actually genuinely happy people). Long, blonde, beautiful hair? Check (Must get hair dyed and done). Pool-blue eyes and flawless skin? Check (Must make an appointment with Dr. Lowe). Cool factor? Well they are Swedish after all. Ugh. This day is depressing me more by the minute. And they are just the nicest people ever. I spend the whole lunch trying to find what’s wrong with them and all I can come up with is that they are fans of 50 Shades of Grey.

2pm: We are going through our Celebrity Crushes (CC). Mine is of course, David, only for the fact that he is the ‘World’s Best Dad’ (and he happens to be even hotter in real life than in photos). I just can’t help it, seeing a (hot) dad with his adorable daughter in his arms just wins me over every time. C’s CC is Christian Bale in American Psycho, with a bit of Christian Grey thrown in, while K’s is Brangelina. Together. In Bed. At the same time. And here I was thinking that Scandis were boring.

David Beckham Takes Harper Out For A Morning Stroll

2:45pm I leave the Electric after a lovely time with K & C, and having had a decent but un-extraordinary soup and salad, but anything tastes better than waiting in line at Bill Granger. On our way out, Marina Fogle, Ben Fogle’s wife, is busy having a work meeting for her new company ‘The Bump’. More mumpreneurs in action.

3pmish: Pick up time. I rush to the school gates and dread the uncomfortable small talk and idle chatter (Where are you off to for half term? How was your half term? Are you going to the Parent’s Event/Sports Day/Christmas Play?) while they ‘up-and-down’ me to see what labels I am not wearing. I feel like an awkward teenager who has no one to sit with at lunch time.

3pmish + 5 minutes: I spot ‘Gossip Mum’ and go straight to her. She loves talking so much and only listens to herself anyway, so I will look like I have a friend, but won’t need to talk. Perfect. And she keeps me in the school gossip loop, which makes me feel less of an outsider. Today, she chats away about the latest weird thing ‘Weird Mum’ has said and done and tells me about SuperRich Mum’s inbuilt trampoline and slide in her huge back garden (Yes, in London). Alpha Mum joins us and tells us about how many laps her perfect, supersonic daughter can do at the ‘Country Club’ after having lessons from Gold Medal Swimmer Coach. I wonder whether I should admit that M still doesn’t swim without floaties.

4pm: We are home after a play in the playground/private garden/park/activity. M has been best friends, enemies, then best friends again with her BFF in the past 10 minutes. Her BFF happens to be SuperRich’s Mum’s daughter and has a private jet, two drivers, three chefs, and 6 staff and M keeps asking if she can have a slide that goes down into a trampoline in our non-existent garden, and why we don’t have our own a ‘taxi’ driver. Hmm… Perhaps they should stay enemies.

4:30pm I open the door for the alarm/kitchen/builder/dishwasher guy to fix the broken alarm/fridge/house/dishwasher. Groundhog Day.

5pm: Finally, it’s TV time and everyone is happy! Anything from Frozen, Doc Mc Stuffins, Peppa, Mickey, Epic, or anything with Pirates will do.

6pm-7:30pm: Dinner, bath-time and wind-down-time, sleepy -time: Baby A doesn’t want to eat, M doesn’t want to poop and neither wants to go to sleep. Lots of negotiations and bribes later, everyone is in bed sleeping.

8pm: Dinner-time. Finally a moment to sit down. Mr. C is at a work dinner/traveling, as usual. I really need to go back to work, I think to myself, at least just so I can blame work for being an inadequate mother. Until then, the pressure of being a NHYM lurks heavily. I blame myself for my daughter not swimming yet, I self-loathe some more about my non-size-8-body, go back to feeling like the outsider who has no one to sit with at lunch-time, feel like the Ugly Duckling next to all these gorgeous Scandis (who seem to have an unfair physical advantage over the rest of the world) and feel personally inadequate for not having my own internet company/ethical food/clothes line/yoga studio.

So, perhaps this is why Trinny is with Charles Saatchi, because the NHYM pressure we put on ourselves creates unrealistic expectations to become these superwomen and supermom NHYM, who don’t actually exist (Except if you are Scandinavian, and then perhaps you stand a chance). Perhaps we should realise that all that really matters is that our families are happy and healthy and all the other stuff just doesn’t really matter. Period.

images

 

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

Twitter: @NHyummymummy

 

Standard
In the Press, Photos, Reviews

Sunny May Bank Holiday, Chiltern Firehouse’s courtyard finally opens!

Nothing beats a Sunday Brunch ‘En Famille’ in the sun

Chilternfirehousecourtyardnottinghillyummymummy

Steak Tartare is a pleasure to look at… but unfortunately it’s like an Eastern European model, too skinny and not enough spice, looks win over substance this time….

Chilternfirehousesteaktartarenottinghillyummymummy

They even provided toys for M! And a highchair for Baby X

Chilternfirehousedogskissingnottinghillyummymummy

The Kissing Doggies were as much a hit as the Strawberry Sundae…!

Chilternfirehousenottinghillyummymummy

All in all, 5 stars for the sunshine, 5 stars for the kissing dogs and strawberry sundae, food and service still to be rated as they are battling teething problems, admitted by the waiter, ‘We opened this Saturday, so that’s why we are running around like head-less chickens. It is like opening a second, separate restaurant’. Which is why they ran out of cutlery and when I asked for a Dashamour I was brought a jalapeño bitter instead of my green juice. (They changed the name without telling me, and the green juice is now called a Green Goddess).

Standard

20140421_094929

In the Press, Photos

Happy Easter!!!

Image