EALING 135 GROUP - By families, for families
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Frazzled mum cooking 
 
 
I’ve come up with a new theme for the Great British Bake Off – “Cooking for children”. I’ve had a think and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that this will be the contestants’ toughest challenge yet.
 
First up, the signature dish. Cook any meal you like but, and here’s the challenge - every single person in your family has to like every single part of it. 
 
Child A said they loved mushrooms last week but now can’t even look at them? Tough. You lose. 
 
To make it realistic, the meal has to be cooked in 20 minutes after you’ve come back from a tough day at work, out of any ingredients you can find in the bottom of the fridge, while simultaneously helping Child B with homework, doing three loads of laundry and shouting down the phone at the supermarket customer services for not delivering your shopping.
 
Secondly, my personal favourite, the technical challenge. You have been given the ingredients to make a cheese sandwich. However, the judges have left important parts out of the instructions. You must choose – white or brown bread? Butter or not? Grated cheese or sliced? Cold or toasted? Cut in halves or quarters? Squares or triangles? Crusts on or off? With or without cucumber? Arranged in a fun smiley face or a flower? 
 
Get any single one of these elements wrong and you’re out. To ensure the challenge is more realistic, you have three minutes to make the sandwich before a siren (a recording of a child screaming “BUT I’M HUNGRY NOOOOOW!”) will go off. 
 
As soon as you start making the sandwich, two small children will be released into the kitchen. Complete the challenge while preventing the children from hitting each other, playing with the oven, turning on the hob, defrosting the contents of the freezer by leaving the door just slightly ajar, and eating a whole packet of chocolate buttons that they found in the back of a cupboard.
 
Finally, if you’ve survived all that, the showstopper. The judges would like you to bake… (drum roll please – I think you know what’s coming) … a cake for a child’s birthday party. You must prepare and plan meticulously. The cake has to match the party theme precisely and look absolutely perfect. Your My Little Pony cannot in any way look like a deformed hippo. Sounds simple? Of course! 
 
But GBBO wouldn’t be GBBO without a twist. Ten minutes after you’ve put the cake tins into the oven, your carefully written plans will be burnt in front of you as you’re told that the theme has changed and the party brought forward by an hour. Good luck turning a half-baked Rainbow Dash into a Minion.
 
Producers of the GBBO, please feel free to use my brilliant idea. Just make sure you credit me and deliver several bottles of gin in thanks.
 
Alice Kassian Brown
Mum to two fabulous girls, aged 6 and 4, going on 16 and 14. Splits time between family, work and imagining an unlikely baking career.
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Firstly let me introduce myself…. I'm Mrs C from Mummy's Whine Club. I'm a stay at home mum to two energetic, boisterous boys. 

In March this year me, the hubby and the boys left the lovely Lane that is ‘Pitshanger’ to buy a house and raise our family in my Northern Irish home town.  

It’s taken me seven months but last week I unpacked the last box and I think we can finally say we feel at home.  London was good to us and there are loads of things we miss but for now bringing our boys up in Ireland is the right decision for us. 

Being a ‘new mum’ in a city far from family can be lonely. Cue the pity party for one! I had a newborn with silent reflux who cried A LOT and there was no one on hand to help when hubby went to work. It was just me and the little dude left to our own devices. I know this is the case for so many parents in London and this is why organisations like Ealing 135 are so important to the parenting community.  

While I was pregnant I went to Louisa's pre-natal yoga classes (she’s in your 135 handbook) in St Stephens church. Go! If you like yoga, you won't regret it! I was so anxious going to my first class and I’m sure I rambled nervously when we all sat around drinking herbal tea and eating biscuits after the class. I slept like a log that night and I’d met some lovely ladies who are now, three years later firmly on my BFF list! 

For weeks after my first boy arrived the only interaction I would have with the outside world was a smile in passing from a fellow Mummy as I lapped Pitshanger Park for what seemed like the twentieth time or a quick chat after yoga. Thankfully one of them quick chats sent me in search of Ealing 135 and after a little help from Mr Google I was signed up and waiting patiently for my handbook.I still remember it arriving. Sitting with a highlighter when the baby napped marking all the classes and groups that we would try.

It turns out I wasn't the only mum doing the very same thing. Regular faces at classes became coffee dates or walking buddies and most importantly ears to listen when you’d had a really rubbish night.

I can only speak for myself but getting out, having a social life (which included my new addition) definitely lifted my spirits. I don't think I was ever depressed but I did feel isolated.Making friends who were going through the same struggles banished those negative feelings and made life as a new Mummy pretty bloody fantastic!

Then along came boy number two. Our decision was made.It was time to take our brood home.  There’s no such thing as Ealing 135 here and I am probably as lonely now as I was in them early days.I can just hide it better here by heading to my Mum's for a cuppa but it's not the same as that first year in London learning to be someone's Mummy and finding a community in which I fitted. 

My eldest has started pre-school (or nursery as we call it here) and I crave a Hullabaloo class or similar to take the baby to but it's just not available. There are plenty of mother, toddler groups but singing or puppet classes are virtually unheard of. For now we spend lots of time in the park or trying to find our feet at the toddler groups and when we find more ‘mummy’ friends I'm gonna try not to bore them with – “Well in London…”

So for anyone who has read this far…. Be thankful for your little spiral bound handbook.Open it up, see what you fancy and give it a go!

To all the ladies and gents (are there any?) associated with Ealing 135, thank you so much for all your hard work!  Ealing needs you! 

If you fancy following me and the boys pop over and find us on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mummyswhineclub

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mummyswhineclub

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mummyswhineclub

 

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We've managed to get guest blogs from a few of the local candidates. Want to know what the parties can offer local parents? Here's your chance to find out!

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The General Election on 7th May is the most unpredictable for a generation. No one really knows what the outcome will be but one thing is for certain: every vote will count.

The new multi-party system we have – illustrated by the 7-way leaders’ debate on ITV – almost certainly won’t be reflected in the number of MPs each party has in the new House of Commons. Our first-past-the-post, winner takes all voting system was fine when there were just two big political parties but it looks a bit ridiculous when there are 5 serious contenders for every seat.

I’m offering something different from the others: I believe in a fairer economy – that creates good jobs that pay at least the living wage. I believe in a public NHS – with no public money going into private profits. And I believe in a safe climate – taking real action on climate change to secure our children’s future.

I know others will say that this is all impossible – that we should think small, not big. That we shouldn’t be bold, ambitious or have a long-term vision for our country. But I couldn’t disagree more.

I’m standing in this election because most politicians don’t represent me or my values. They didn’t represent me when they introduced, then trebled university tuition fees (often while promising to keep education free). They didn’t represent me when they started closing SureStart children’s centres and libraries. They didn’t represent me when they took Britain to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Maybe they didn’t represent you either.

That’s why I joined the Green Party. Finally I’d found a political party that cared about the things I care about: about making life easier, not harder for people. Helping new parents with a free universal early education and childcare service. Making sure that every school is a good school with a balanced and enriching curriculum rather than an exam factory that stifle children’s potential and creativity. Scrapping undergraduate tuition fees and reintroducing student grants to ensure that universities do not become the preserve of a wealthy elite.

No one pretends that this isn’t going to come with a price tag. But we’re honest about that – if you’re in the super-rich elite, a tax dodging multi-millionaire or intent on wrecking our environment then watch out: we’re coming to get you and your ill-gotten gains!

You have a fantastic opportunity to get the politics you deserve. But only if you vote for what you believe in. Go on – be bold: vote Green.

Tom Sharman is the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central and Acton in the General Election on 7th May. You can read the Green Party’s General Election Manifesto online on the Green party website.

 

You can email Tom at tom4ealing@greenparty.org.uk, like him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenTomSharman and follow him on Twitter: @tom_sharman

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I’ve been a W5 resident for over 40 years. I’m proud to be standing in my home town of Ealing Central and Acton where I attended school at Montpelier followed by Notting Hill and Ealing along with my two siblings:  Nutun Ahmed (a former 135 alumnus) and tv presenter Konnie Huq. I’m now not a professional politician but a proud public sector worker and the only candidate who is an Ealing mum. I’d say Labour is the best choice for Ealing parents and hard-working families across the country for many reasons.

On childcare we are offering 25 hours free childcare every week for 3 and 4 year olds and wrap around afterschool for school aged children, from breakfast clubs to afterschool.

On education there has been too much meddling by education ministers such as Michael Gove and it is a real worry recent NASWT research showed 67% of teachers want to leave the profession. Labour will cap class sizes at 30 for 5, 6 and 7 year olds. The numbers of children in 30+ classes in early years at school has risen exponentially. Our parent-led academies will only employ fully qualified teachers and be launched in areas with a need for places

The NHS is Labour’s crowning achievement. The coalition have axed A&E services at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith and plan to close maternity at Ealing (the borough with the third highest birth-rate of London’s 33 boroughs) after the election. We saved the NHS in 1997 and will do so again with 8000 more doctors, 20000 more nurses and a whole person system integrating the care and health services.

We will protect private renters by banning rip off agent fees for tenants, capping rent increases and offering security with up to three year tenancies. We will build 200,000 new homes yearly with a proportion reserved for first time buyers to get people on the ladder.

Unlike other parties all our commitments are fully costed requiring no extra borrowing.

The last Labour government has a proud record of eg launching the sure start programme, a joined up initiative linking the education and health sectors, introducing free fruit into classrooms and Bookstart to get kids reading. These are all programmes that the coalition of Tories and their Lib Dems have cut back on or scrapped.

We have a Labour council that has had £153 million cuts driven by central government and is trying to do more and more with less and less. By contrast in areas like David Cameron’s Oxfordshire or Gloucestershire where the Conservative MP lives have had funding increases. We need Ealing to be able to work with a Labour government and MP who is genuinely rooted in the community who can advocate that we get our fair share. That person is me, vote Labour on 7th May, vote Labour.

Dr Rupa Huq

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Over the past five years representing Ealing Central and Acton in Parliament, I have had the pleasure of working with a number of different people and groups, who contribute to make our area the wonderful, vibrant, welcoming place it is.  One thing that has struck me especially about the people of Ealing, is how enterprising people are, and the number of start-up businesses we have.  People seeing a problem and actually deciding to do something about it, or set up a group to work together with their neighbours.

This is certainly true of a group I have spent the past few years working with, Ealing Mums in Business.  Erin and Shelley who set it up, were both new mothers with new businesses, who clubbed together to help each other out, and now run a network supporting hundreds of other like-minded parents.  I have done my bit, by arranging for them to meet the people who can help them further, like Treasury Minister Andrea Leadsom, who gave them some advice on small business lending, but really those success stories are made when people have a vision and go ahead and realise it.  I think Government’s role is to help where possible, and to remove barriers that might prevent people from getting on with supporting their families and communities.

That was why I was so pleased with the news from the Conservative manifesto launch this week.  Already this Government has legislated to introduce 15 hours a week of free childcare for all three and four-year olds and the most deprived two year-olds which we extended to include parents who are self-employed. But because working families with children under school age face particularly high childcare costs, in the next Parliament we will give families where all parents are working an entitlement to 30 hours of free childcare for their three and four year-olds.

For me, being a Conservative is about choice, and freedom.  Ensuring people have the help they need, but otherwise giving them the freedom to make the choices that are right for them.  That is why our introduction of shared parental leave earlier this month was so important.  Families can choose what is right for them, Government giving them the freedom to make that choice. 

That is the approach I have taken to my time as the MP in Ealing and Acton.  Being approachable, meeting people, listening, feeding in people’s views, and helping to deal with problems that may arise.  I certainly hope I can continue my work for the next five years!

Angie Bray MP

 

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Over the past five years representing Ealing Central and Acton in Parliament, I have had the pleasure of working with a number of different people and groups, who contribute to make our area the wonderful, vibrant, welcoming place it is.  One thing that has struck me especially about the people of Ealing, is how enterprising people are, and the number of start-up businesses we have.  People seeing a problem and actually deciding to do something about it, or set up a group to work together with their neighbours.

This is certainly true of a group I have spent the past few years working with, Ealing Mums in Business.  Erin and Shelley who set it up, were both new mothers with new businesses, who clubbed together to help each other out, and now run a network supporting hundreds of other like-minded parents.  I have done my bit, by arranging for them to meet the people who can help them further, like Treasury Minister Andrea Leadsom, who gave them some advice on small business lending, but really those success stories are made when people have a vision and go ahead and realise it.  I think Government’s role is to help where possible, and to remove barriers that might prevent people from getting on with supporting their families and communities.

That was why I was so pleased with the news from the Conservative manifesto launch this week.  Already this Government has legislated to introduce 15 hours a week of free childcare for all three and four-year olds and the most deprived two year-olds which we extended to include parents who are self-employed. But because working families with children under school age face particularly high childcare costs, in the next Parliament we will give families where all parents are working an entitlement to 30 hours of free childcare for their three and four year-olds.

For me, being a Conservative is about choice, and freedom.  Ensuring people have the help they need, but otherwise giving them the freedom to make the choices that are right for them.  That is why our introduction of shared parental leave earlier this month was so important.  Families can choose what is right for them, Government giving them the freedom to make that choice. 

That is the approach I have taken to my time as the MP in Ealing and Acton.  Being approachable, meeting people, listening, feeding in people’s views, and helping to deal with problems that may arise.  I certainly hope I can continue my work for the next five years!

Angie Bray MP

 

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Over the past five years representing Ealing Central and Acton in Parliament, I have had the pleasure of working with a number of different people and groups, who contribute to make our area the wonderful, vibrant, welcoming place it is.  One thing that has struck me especially about the people of Ealing, is how enterprising people are, and the number of start-up businesses we have.  People seeing a problem and actually deciding to do something about it, or set up a group to work together with their neighbours.

This is certainly true of a group I have spent the past few years working with, Ealing Mums in Business.  Erin and Shelley who set it up, were both new mothers with new businesses, who clubbed together to help each other out, and now run a network supporting hundreds of other like-minded parents.  I have done my bit, by arranging for them to meet the people who can help them further, like Treasury Minister Andrea Leadsom, who gave them some advice on small business lending, but really those success stories are made when people have a vision and go ahead and realise it.  I think Government’s role is to help where possible, and to remove barriers that might prevent people from getting on with supporting their families and communities.

That was why I was so pleased with the news from the Conservative manifesto launch this week.  Already this Government has legislated to introduce 15 hours a week of free childcare for all three and four-year olds and the most deprived two year-olds which we extended to include parents who are self-employed. But because working families with children under school age face particularly high childcare costs, in the next Parliament we will give families where all parents are working an entitlement to 30 hours of free childcare for their three and four year-olds.

For me, being a Conservative is about choice, and freedom.  Ensuring people have the help they need, but otherwise giving them the freedom to make the choices that are right for them.  That is why our introduction of shared parental leave earlier this month was so important.  Families can choose what is right for them, Government giving them the freedom to make that choice. 

That is the approach I have taken to my time as the MP in Ealing and Acton.  Being approachable, meeting people, listening, feeding in people’s views, and helping to deal with problems that may arise.  I certainly hope I can continue my work for the next five years!

Angie Bray MP

 

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It was tricky thinking of the first blog post for the new site. It was tricky until I realised it should be about the backbone of the group, parents.

When I joined Ealing 135, my son was six months old. My parents live abroad, my sisters were studying or working long hours and my inlaws all work full time too. I was alone a lot and, inevitably, lonely. In addition, I was full of self doubt. I had started out all dreams and aspirations, the natural birth, the oh so easy breastfeeding, the highly stimulating and educational activities I would complete. I managed the natural birth by luck, I mix fed for the first two weeks because I didn't produce enough milk at first and, after a few weeks of exhausted attempts at playing with what is, essentially, an eating, pooing and cuddle machine, I hit the DVD collection to watch in the background. 

I then, of course, felt horribly guilty about it all. Until I joined the group. The first time parents' group was a revelation. It turned out that everyone had doubts, worries and fears, slefishly, this was excellent!

When I posted on the Facebook page asking about what someone termed parenting 'guilty secrets' I didn't expect such a quick and witty set of responses. It turns out we've done it all, and I'm no exception. My children watch TV, they eat chocolate and I use food as a bribe; all things I swore I would never do before children. I will also admit to dropping half a Whopper on my firstborn when I attempted to breastfeed while enjoying a Burger King. I'm not alone, other parents told me they, too, have abandoned some of the ideals that they began parenthood with. Interestingly, a few also admitted, as do I, that I hide things from other parents. Even if it's a noncommittal, hmmmmmm, instead of 'Actually, my son ate chocolate laden cereal this morning and I feel like a failure'.

The real issue is why we even feel guilty. Who decided it was ok to judge our peers or feel judged ourselves? Ealing 135 has offered me a place where I feel free to air concerns, offer advice, take advice myself and just rant sometimes, without the judgement of others.

So join me, feel free to be less than perfect, laugh at the lows and celebrate the highs. Pick your battles and...

*What is that in your mouth? Did you get it off the floor? But is it food? It is? Ok then...*

Be happy.  

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We'll be blogging here soon, so please check back later.

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