020 8567 3112 hello@westlondonkids.com
A flurry of flavours on Northfield Avenue

A flurry of flavours on Northfield Avenue

Indian food with a difference in West London

Northfields is rarely considered to be a leading gastronomy spot, but the arrival of Patri last year has certainly sparked things up a bit on this suburban West London high street.

I was recently invited to go and try it out and took my kids and parents. My father and 8-year-old son, in particular, are huge fans of Indian food. My son and daughter (now 10) have both been vegetarian since the ages of 5 and 7 respectively and often Indian restaurants are an easier choice for vegetarians.

Why is Patri different from other Indian restaurants in Ealing?

Patri is no ordinary Indian restaurant. It was created to recall the flavours and scents of the culinary dished served at India’s classical train stations and on board its legendary voyages. Patri founder, Puneet Wadhwani has really come up with something unique for West London foodies. From snacks, such as ‘girlfriend chaat’ cooked on the platform and handed to passengers through the window of passing trains, to meals such as rara gosht made on board, Puneet has conjured a sizzling selection of delicious nostalgic dishes. 
 
It is a cosy restaurant – and that’s not just a euphemism for small, it feels like it should be exactly that way. With its ode to meals eaten on board the rail carriages of India, a large open plan restaurant would not sit right at all. The décor has real attention to detail and gives a fabulously authentic feel. I certainly felt transported from this unassuming West London suburban high street. The kids loved it and the waiters were very attentive to them. I love that living in West London exposes my kids to cultural cuisines to such an amazing extent and they are really adventurous on the whole, enjoying dishes from around the world on a regular basis.

Indian street food

We went for a selection of street food snacks to share to experience a range of different flavours. My son chose the Chatpati Aloo Tikki Chaat from the Vegan street food menu. It was a huge portion and an absolutely delicious potato patty mix of chickpeas, pomegranate, lemon, onions and tomato, topped with tamarind and mint chutney. It is definitely the tastiest Indian dish I had never tasted before! This was the first thing I tried and on the strength of this dish alone, I knew this would be the first of many visits to this restaurant for me! We immediately regretted not ordering two portions of this dish as it was soon swept up between the six of us and got a resounding thumbs up from all.

We also tried the Punjabi Samosa Chaat – which is filled with cumin, coriander, peas and potato drizzle with spicy mint, tamarind, mango chutney on a bed of spicy chickpeas, kachumber, coriander and – yes again – and I’m loving this addition to Indian food – pomegranate. Another popular dish with my family, though the Chatpati Aloo Tikki Chaat slightly pipped it, just from being so different from anything else we had tried before.

The structure of the Patri menu differs from most restaurants in that it isn’t ordered in the expected starter/ main/ dessert way but instead the food options are split into different categories: Vegan Street Food, Signature Chaat Bhandar, Kebabs, Old Delhi Meat Classics and Mom’s Signature Vegetarian Selection and Extras (naans, rotis and rice). Then there is the Railway Mix (designed to share) – a half tandoori chicken, lamb seekh kebab, Malai Tikkas and Paneer Tikka) plus the Chef’s Signature Special Thali of the Day which my father opted for. A quick mention too for the fab non-alcoholic cocktails – I love a Virgin Colada – alcoholic versions also available.

My mum and I (a bit full after sampling the scrumptious street food) shared a Pantry Chicken Curry (consisting of onions, tomatoes and simmered with yoghurt, masalas and coriander). I felt slightly unadventurous opting for this with such an exotic range of choices, but I had used all my decision-making energy on street food! My top tip would be to definitely download the menu from the website before you visit Patri and really have a good read of it as it took us adults absolutely ages to make our minds up and the hungry children got most exasperated with us!

What the West London Kids thought!

The children only get two choices on their menu – and both options were chicken so not suitable for my vegetarian children. It would be good to see some more choices for kids on there, particularly vegetarian options as I’m sure I don’t have the only vegetarian kids in West London! You can actually ask for a vegetarian or fish alternative to the kids menu but this is highlighted separately in a banner and we only saw the two chicken options. It didn’t matter though because – for once in their lives – they agreed on a main dish to share. They very happily tucked into their Daal Makhani – a slow-cooked lentil dish in a tomato and butter sauce. They shared some of our rice and we ended up ordering a second butter naan – genuinely the best butter naan I’ve tried in my life and a huge thumbs up from both children.

Just a bit about the service before I finish. It takes a little getting used to. It is very friendly, and I loved the way the waiters knew so much about the dishes and gave us the background stories of the more unusual menu items, expanding on the already well-detailed menu descriptions. It did seem a little chaotic at time with numerous different waiters serving us – but I later realised this is deliberate. A small banner on the menu tells you that it is Service on Demand to replicate the waiting style of the railways. You are meant to press the “dingly bells” (have to say we didn’t notice these so I will look out for them next time!) to hail a waiter or you can just wave your hand to attract a server’s attention (like we did, being far too unobservant to notice any bells!) – the menu does say you should shout “Bhaiya Service Please” but I didn’t actually notice anyone do that – something else to look out for next time. Because there definitely will be a next time – I am looking forward to going back with my husband (who was away in Berlin when we went out for this meal). I know he will be a big fan and that this is likely to become a regular dining spot for us as a family!

The Essential Info

Website: https://patri.co.uk/Address: Patri, Northfields, 139 Northfields Avenue W13 9QT. There are also branches in Hammersmith and one will be opening soon in Ealing Broadway so West London is being spoilt!
Tel: 0203 981 3388
Email: northfields@patri.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PatriRestaurant/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/patriartisan/

Six children’s Christmas gift ideas if you’re stuck …

Six children’s Christmas gift ideas if you’re stuck …

Unique presents for children from small (mostly West London based), parent-run businesses

Has anyone else hit a Christmas gift block? It can be so hard choosing gifts for children. Particularly, I find, other peoples’ – if you have a nephew or a goddaughter to buy for. What do they like? Is this age appropriate? Will they like it? Will the parents approve? Etc. For your own children it is sometimes nice to find Christmas present ideas that you can’t just find on Amazon, or fighting your way through the high street crowds. Here are some tips I’ve found this Christmas you might like.

  1. Sporty Minis bag

Hot off the press, we got sent a sample of the new sports kit bags for over 2 year olds by Sport Minis. Sporty Minis is a unique physical development sports and fundamental movement skills programme delivered within Early Years Foundation Stage and primary school setting centres in London and Surrey. These kit bags come in a range of different colours, and provide everything your child needs in their first proper sports bag.

With fourteen pieces of equipment including a bean bag game kit, a ball and a racket, there are thirty-six different activities you can do with your child using one of these bags. Included are six easy-to-follow individual, pair and team games. These bags retail at a full price of £30.

A great accompaniment to the bag is their calendar. It is packed with different ideas for fun and engaging physical activities to do with your children each month. For starters, I love the Garden traffic lights game for January. It might well be designed for younger children but my 8 and 10-year-olds still had loads of fun playing it in the garden. We must remember to play it when we next see their younger cousin on his next trip over from Hong Kong. You can buy your Sporty Minis bag/ calendar here:
https://sportyminis.com/shop/

Sporty Minis Calendar 2020 cover
Sporty Minis Calendar 2020

2. Joanna Forest CD

Joanna is a number one selling classical soprano artist. I met her at a Creative Women’s Network night out which is a wonderful bunch of creative artists, business owners and bloggers. She posted a copy for me to listen to recently and we love it. Perfect mellow music for chilled afternoons at home or to keep the calm between siblings on long car journeys. We have a few of those coming up over the Christmas holidays so this will be on replay.

With classics such as ‘Lets Go Fly a Kite, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing and my favourite – the Joanna Forrest remake of the Take That classic – ‘Greatest Day.’ We have an elderly car which we’ve had since before our 10 year-old was born, so a CD did us fine (available on Amazon in CD format or streamed) – but the album is also available on iTunes and Google Play.
Read more about Joanna Forest: https://www.joannaforest.com/

Joanna Forest album cover
Joanna Forest album cover

3. Meet Henry & Henrietta Heartbeat

It’s Cool to be Kind! In a world where we see so much hardship and cruelty, how lovely it is to have a set of books themed specifically on kindness. Meet Henry Heartbeat and Meet Henrietta Heartbeat are two separate books by Natalie Savvides. They are simple, charming stories, teaching children about empathy. The message is that we need to be kind to people and to try to understand their feelings.

I think it’s more essential than ever to be installing these values into children from a very early age. I also love the positive tone of the book. I would recommend this book as a story to be read to children aged 2 to 4 as a heart-warming bedtime story For slightly older children (aged 4 to 7) can read it to you or with you.

The clear, fairly large print and rhyming style of the books are ideal for children who are learning to read. Highly recommended, the two books combined make a lovely set for a Christmas or birthday gift. Read more about Henry and Henrietta Heartbeat and purchase the books here:
https://henryandhenriettaheartbeat.com/

Front covers of the Meet Henry and Henrietta Heartbeat books.
Meet Henry and Henrietta Heartbeat

4. I Am A Mini Activity Kits

I’m a Mini has a lovely selection of activity and party bags and activity boxes. We were sent the I’m a Mini Explorer and I’m a Mini Weather Watcher a few months ago as a gift and it was a lovely thing to arrive in the mail. Two beautifully wrapped treasure chests of goodies. Presented like a giant lucky dip, my children thought they were really exciting to receive. They have had lots of fun with friends filling in the weather recording book and hunting for bugs in the garden, to study with their magnifying glass. I love how all the tiny details have been thought of in these packs. These are no rushed On The Cheap box sets, but lovingly planned and put together with a whole host of accessories for fun and learning.

I’m A Mini motivates new interests, nurtures ideas and encourages new skills – all through games and creativity.”  There is a comprehensive range to choose from to enthrall your mini astronauts, footballers, artists and bakers. For more information: https://www.imamini.co.uk

I'm a Mini Me children's activity boxes
I’m a Mini Me Activity Boxes

5. Nailpad

 Tori and Carrie are identical twins from Ealing and Richmond who I met several months ago to provide some marketing guidance and support. Together they founded Nailpad which is a slick portable table, with a nifty holder to keep the nail varnish pot secure. This fab little tool makes painting nails easier, steadier and tidier!

As the mother of a 10-year-old girl who absolutely loves her collection of about 240 nail polishes and enjoys doing manicures on herself and others, I am used to the mess that nail polish make. As is her bedroom carpet and our lounge cushions! Since giving her a Nailpad the spillages have reduced dramatically – hurrah! She loves showing it to her friends when they come over. The have hours of fun, running ‘beauty salons’ and ‘spa days.’

If you think this is something that would be of interest to an enthusiastic manicurist in your family or friendship group, check out the Buy Me page on the Nailpad website. The Nailpad comes in a smart carry bag and is available in smart black or bright pink. You can also purchase a set which includes some nail polish and children’s stickers. See the full range here: https://nailpad.co.uk/buy-me/

Two girls using a Nailpad to paint nails
Manicure time with Nailpad

6. Creative Writing Skills book

If you have a child aged 9 – 11 and you like to add a few educational gifts into the mix, then this is just the thing. My daughter has taken both Course 1 and Course 2 of the Bright Light Educational Creative Writing Skills. I was delighted with how she took to this course. It unleashed her creativity and has given her so much more confidence in her writing.

The beauty of the course was that it was, in essence, tutoring. Yet it was so fun and engaged the young imaginations so well that my daughter didn’t see it as such. She really looked forward to each class. She absolutely loved getting a book from the course teacher too and was very impressed by the fact she was being taught by a published author! However, it’s a great book as a stand alone too, even if your child isn’t able to do the course.
It teaches essential writing skills such as sentence structure and creating fear and suspense. Priced at only £12.99, it’s a perfect gift if you have a budding author in the house.
For more details about the book and to purchase visit their website:
https://brightlighteducation.co.uk/shop/

Bright Light Education creative writing book
Bright Light Education creative writing book

Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration there . Good luck with the rest of your Christmas shopping!

West London children’s cookery school – a review

West London children’s cookery school – a review

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 making at Smart Raspberry Cookery School
Getting stuck into baking preparations

The West London Kids make their own dinner and dessert – result!

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!

Girl displays the gingerbread cookies made at Smart Raspberry Cookery School holiday camp in West London.
Gingerbread Mummies ready to go in the oven

“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.

Two children at their West London cookery class.
My children loved this West London cookery class in Brentford

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!

WIN a children’s emergency first aid book! (2 prizes!)

WIN a children’s emergency first aid book! (2 prizes!)

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

You can also purchase the book on Amazon or read it on your Kindle.
Good luck!⁣ ?

Picture of a child who has fallen over her bike in West London
Accidents will happen with kids – are you prepared?

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.

Teaching West London Kids to Move and Learn!

Teaching West London Kids to Move and Learn!

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.

Teaching kids to enjoy being active is crucial.
  • 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?

Boy holding up Tagtiv8

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 - an innovative way to get kids active
Tagtiv8 – an innovative way to get West London Kids to enjoy getting active.

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:

Following the research, Bryn and Dr Andy Daly-Smith were invited to present at a TEDx event. Click here to see how they blend research with practice.

The research demonstrates that Tagtiv8 approaches work as well as play. The impact of ‘move and learn’ approaches on teachers and their children are also all too apparent in these quotes:

  • “Tagtiv8 is an amazing resource and should be in every school.” Chief Executive Officer, Amaya Trust, London
  • “Tagtiv8 takes away the fear of Mathematics.” Year 3 teacher, Lancashire
  • “With Tagtiv8 Maths, you don’t get a chance to get bored or zone out.” Bella, age 8, Leeds
  • “Tagtiv8 approaches engage even the most reluctant of learners.” Headteacher, Suffolk
  • “I used to think I was rubbish at Maths, but now I know I’m not!” Ethan, age 10, Leicester

Are You Interested in Moving & Learning?

If you would like to contact Bryn about how Tagtiv8 can work and play with your school, he would love to hear from you.

Get in touch

hello@tagtiv8.com

Office: 020 3370 4272 Mobile: 07506 523354

Website   TwitterFacebook  

Instagram   YouTube    Vimeo

Kensington Mums Christmas Fair

Kensington Mums Christmas Fair

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! 

To find out more and RSVP visit their website: https://www.kensingtonmums.co.uk/kensington-mums-family-christmas-fair-2019/