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

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