My children recently attended a Halloween Cookery Workshop at the Smart Raspberry West London cooking school for kids. Now I am the first to admit, I don’t bake much with my children. We have a small, narrow West London terrace kitchen and I just find it too much palaver. That’s an excuse of course – you spotted it! Our lives are busy and just don’t make the time for it. I have baked brownies with the kids in the last week (gold star for me!), so it’s not like a never do it, but I really should make more effort and this plays on my Mum Guilt.
Tasty holiday workshops
I enrolled my children on the Friday of the October half-term programme which ran every day of the main holiday week. The themed days each had a fab Halloween themed name, such as Trick O Treat Chocolate Workshops and Wicked Witches Feast Workshops. My two attended the Fright Night Workshop on the Friday.
The West London Kids make their own dinner and dessert –
During their workshop they made Fang-tastic Four Cheese Pasta, Gingerbread Mummies and Frightful fruit crumble. All ingredients are provided and included in the cost of the workshops. They were delighted with their culinary creations and excited to show us at the end of the session. It also worked out very well as we were straight on the road to Somerset after collecting them and had something ready to heat and eat when we arrived. Saved the usual stress of getting there and then having to sort out food for them and getting stressed at them whinging about their bellies in front of the grandparents they haven’t seen for several months!
“So where do I sign up?” you say ….
Smart Raspberry is a franchised cooking school for children and the West London branch is run by the very personable Yasmin Ali. Gently spoken and very calm but with an air of quiet authority; she won the trust of my children straight away. They are definitely keen to go back for another holiday workshop soon. My West London Kids are busy with other kids activities in Ealing on Saturday mornings but there is a class available on Saturday mornings at Brentford School for Girls from 11am to 12.30pm during term times.
The Holiday Workshops also take place at the school in Brentford (which I should say has the perfect room set up for these children’s cookery courses). The run from a 9am to 3pm which is a nice amount of time to get some work done if you’re self employed like me but still be able to enjoy some holiday time with your kids (like eating the food they made ha ha!)
I was gifted the places for my children on this course but everything I say in the review is 100% genuine and I don’t guarantee businesses a glowing review in return for complimentary places. It is vital to me to be authentic and only represent brands that my followers can trust and get value from.
For more information about Smart Raspberry West London cookery classes and holiday workshops, visit the website: www.smartraspberry.com They are also on Instagram and Facebook – and great to follow for recipe ideas and inspiration for cooking with or for your children and to keep up-to-date with their events and news. A big thumbs up from the West London Kids – give them a try sometime!
Worried you wouldn’t know the best course of action in a child emergency? I was too and this book on emergency first aid for children made me feel much better prepared! 🤕😷🤒
We have two of these fab children’s first aid books “Burns, Falls and Emergency Calls,” by Emma Hammett, Founder of First Aid for Life to give away (two winners). All you have to do is hop over to the West London Kids Facebook page and either tag a friend who would also find the book useful below or simply comment “done” so we can enter you into the draw! You can gain an extra entry by retweeting the West London Kids competition tweets by @westlondonkids or via the post on the West London Kids Instagram
Terms and Conditions 📚 Competition ends on 30.11.2019 at 11:59 pm GMT. 📚Overseas entries permitted. Please allow two weeks for delivery. 📚Winners will be chosen at random via a name picking app. 📚One entry per person per platform (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) – so that’s 3 entries maximum per person 📚This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in any way.⠀ The Winner will be contacted by direct message by 2nd December 2019.
I recently got talking to Bryn Llewellyn, Founder of Tagtiv8 Active Learning, because we share a common interest in ensuring school age children keep up the same levels of physical activity as when they were smaller. I think this is particularly a problem for children in London and other big cities where they are usually spending less time outdoors.
My personal opinion is (although parents obviously should take a lot of responsibility too) there is not nearly enough time for physical activity to be included in primary school timetables. School schedules are squeezed by the demands of the curriculum. Bryn told me all about Tagtiv8’s unique Physical Active Learning (PAL) systems and I was fascinated so asked him to write a guest blog for West London Kids.
Tagtiv8 founded in 2012, when as a teacher, Bryn had noticed how pupils loved learning but hated sitting down for long periods of time. He was frustrated that many schools were focussing only on English and Mathematics.
What are the issues with children and fitness ?
As parents and carers, we know schools are incredibly busy places with relentless pressures to increase standards. In amongst all of this, the health and wellbeing of UK primary school children is declining.
Physical activity levels amongst UK primary-aged children are falling from as early as 7-years of age
Only 10% of children achieve the daily recommendations for physical activity
Increasing numbers of children in the UK are leaving school classified as obese or overweight
Traditional approaches for improving health outcomes for children focus heavily on Sport & PE during segmented periods of the school day. But does this engage all children to be more active? Or does it merely maintain the levels of those that are active already?
What are the Possible Solutions?
Could Physically Active Learning (PAL) be the solution? Research has found that PAL can:
Improve classroom behaviour and activity engagement
Significantly reduce sedentary periods of time
Offer aggregated improvement in academic performance over time
Based on his experiences as a teacher and school leader, Bryn Llewellyn decided to create something that would address these health issues, as well as tackling the data driven mentality of education ministers. As he explained, “Testing means that for many children, English and Maths are their staple diet. Subjects are taught in boxes – with certain boxes larger than others.
The narrowing of the curriculum means that physical education and the arts are often shunted to one side. With education focussed on exam/test performance, we have created a drill and practise culture where children are expected to sit and concentrate for extended periods of time. Studying to the test may work for some, but it’s not the case for all.”
Thus Tagtiv8 was born. Think Tig, Tag or maybe Tag Rugby meets Scrabble and Countdown – Tagtiv8 activates learning in English and Mathematics! “I wanted to create something that is like Lego – something that involves play and creativity – and can be accessed by children from EYFS to KS1, KS2 and beyond – as witnessed during this intergenerational pilot.
Tagtiv8 are now operating in more than 220 schools across the UK, with some pioneering schools in France, Australia and Finland jumping on board. To find out more about Tagtiv8, check out these videos:
Kensington Mums is organising their fourth Christmas Family Fair on Sunday December 1st in the heart of Kensington.
The Kensington Mums Christmas Family Fair will take place at the Holiday Inn Kensington forum from 9-5 pm. We have 40+ stalls with various exhibitors. The fair will also feature kids’ entertainment, various inspirational speakers, raffle prizes and goody bags supporting a great charity. Plus there will be drinks and canapés on offer as they celebrate Kensington Mums turning 8!
A new West London Kids prize giveaway – kindly gifted by Tori & Carrie, the twin sister creators of Nailpad.
The idea for Nailpad was hatched after the sisters were chatting about the irritating issues they faced when painting nails. Things like trying to balance a bottle of varnish between your knees, using a slippery magazine to lean on, those inevitable nailpolish spillages…
It’s a smart little portable table with a nifty holder to keep the nail varnish pot secure. Painting nails is now easier, steadier and far less stressful!
I have a Nailpad and my 10 year-old daughter is always borrowing it. She loves to do manicures for herself – and for me – using it. I love the quality mother and daughter bonding time. Also the fact that with this fab accessory, the nail polish stains on her bedroom carpet have been reduced dramatically.
For a chance to win, hop over to the West London Kids Facebook Page and follow the instructions on the competition post. Then it’s just a case of keeping your fingers crossed! You can gain an extra entry by retweeting the competition tweets by @westlondonkids or via the post on the West London Kids Instagram To find out more about Nailpad or to place an order (fab Christmas present idea!) visit their website: https://nailpad.co.uk
Your child’s life may be busy enough with school, homework and family responsibilities. You might not want to add even more to their plate. However adding in an extracurricular activity or two could actually be the break they need. Here Laura Cross of Inventors & Makers, (one of my children’s favourite holiday workshops), writes a guest blog for West London Kids about the benefits of activities outside of school.
Here’s four benefits of extracurricular activities that you may not have thought about…
They can ignite a new passion
Your child may think they only love football, but what if they can design their own app about football? Perhaps they’ll discover a love for app design. Trying their hand at something brand new, such as robotics or machine building, can kickstart a passion that a young person will carry with them as they grow.
They can offer a variety of experiences
Extracurricular activities help children learn more about what they like and don’t like and what they’re good at, beyond what they may have tried in the past.
Children who take part in the same types of activities can become disengaged and are less likely to be willing to stray from their comfort zone. By encouraging your child to explore a wider range of activities, you can help them find out what they like and don’t like, but more importantly you can also give them the habit of trying new things.
While children may not immediately latch onto a new extra-curricular activity, the process of learning and improving can give them a self-belief and confidence that pushes them in later life, too.
They can promote collaboration and communication
Most extra-curricular activities will expose your child to a whole new group of adults and children. This can help them learn to communicate and collaborate with all kinds of personalities. These skills contribute towards a better developed social and emotional intelligence, and also improve their ability to learn new skills from others.
They can lead to better educational outcomes
Interests outside of schoolwork and sports always look good on a school or university application, or even one day on a CV. These interests and pursuits indicate the people skills, the eagerness to try new things and the dedication that many schools, universities and employers are looking for.
In addition, some studies, have even shown a direct correlation between participation in extracurricular activities and higher test scores and overall engagement in education.
The immediate benefits of extracurricular activities – having fun, making friends, and developing a passion – are obvious.
However, the long-term academic benefits, people skills, and confidence that they build shouldn’t be underestimated.
Inventors & Makers runs a range of educational workshops where children can explore new skills such as app design, movie making, robotics, machine building, video game design and more. Our workshops also specifically focus on problem-solving, creativity and collaboration, all crucial skills for children’s futures in the Information Age. For more information on holiday workshops and after school clubs run by Inventors & Makers visit their website: inventorsandmakers.com