The next Marylebone Mum’s Coffee Meet-up will be next Friday 22nd February at 4pm at the Radisson Blu Hotel which is just off Gloucester Place near the George St intersection. The group will be meeting on the right from the entrance. Soraya will be hosting.
Coffee morning THIS WEDNESDAY 21st Nov 10am to 11.30am
At Buongiorno e Buonaserra on Baker Street
Marylebone is a popular destination for those looking for great food - we have some of the best restaurants and bars in London in the area. There has been a massive change in the area over the last few years though, and some of the tried and true locals favourites have moved on, as well as many of the chains which (though boring) were great stalwarts when out with younger children. Amongst others we have lost Giraffe which was truly great for kids, and more recently Carluccio's where the staff overlooked the noise and mess that comes with kids and was always an easy and affordable option. Thankfully a few places like Cote that are reasonably priced, where kids are welcomed and not just tolerated do still exist in the area.
Some of the newcomer restaurants that have opened are not particularly kid friendly in their menus, or do not encourage children (to put it politely), or are just too expensive to go to regularly and not really value for money.
Yet we do have a few little gems in the area, such as The Ivy Cafe on Marylebone Lane.
Recently, I was invited by The Ivy Cafe to have lunch with a friend at their Marylebone branch. As you may know, The Ivy Cafe has been growing rapidly as a group with branches is many of the "nice" areas of London and the South East such as St John's Wood and Richmond. The Ivy brand has a great reputation but when I first heard they were coming to Marylebone I was not convinced we needed something like that in the area and had my concerns about whether it could be a place where locals want to go rather attracting mainly the destination diners that many restaurants focus on.
Well, I was totally wrong!
Not only do the team at The Ivy Cafe welcome families with children, they also provide tasty food at a price level that is justifiable, in lovely surroundings and most importantly welcoming to locals. In fact during my lunch there I not only saw 2 people I know from the area but also bumped into my cousin who lives and works in the neighbourhood who was having a business lunch there and who confirmed that it is definitely one of his go-to places for a meal. It is definitely a place for locals - which is lovely to see.
The Ivy Cafe has a varied menu, with something for everyone. Comfort food is definitely prevalent but there are lots of lighter and healthier options too. I enjoyed my prawn cocktail starter with beautiful large prawns, and couldn't resist the Shepherd's Pie which is always comforting, delicious and far better than anything I ever make at home! My dining companion used her test of a restaurant by ordering the fried calamari which was crispy yet tender (passing the test with flying colours) and proclaimed her sea bass main delicious and light. We indulged with a chocolate mousse and tarte tatin for dessert which were both lovely as well as some much-needed coffee to carry us through the afternoon after a rather larger-than-usual lunch!
The manager chatted to us and mentioned that a few of the local restaurants have pitched together and can share child seats if they have a larger than normal number of little ones dining with them, which I think is a great idea and nice to see the community working together. They will do small portions and children's options, and I am sure my child would happily eat many of the things from the main menu as the menu has a wide and varied mix with many family favourites that children would be familiar with.
My only negative from the visit was that even though it was a Monday afternoon in early October, the place was packed. I believe they do keep some tables for walk-in diners but given the restaurant's popularity it may not be easy to just pop in at peak times (if like me you are never organised enough to book!). But if you get a table you are almost guaranteed a good meal.
As well as a delicious all-day menu, they have a breakfast menu, a cream tea from 3-5pm every day with scones (guess where you might be able to find me one day very soon?), and a weekend brunch menu as well as a dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu. So there really is something for everyone! It is quite clear why The Ivy Cafe has become a popular place for Marylebone residents and visitors alike.
The Ivy Cafe 96 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, London W1U 2QA
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine with a guest and did not have to pay for our meal. I will happily return to the venue in the future to dine there with family and friends based on my experience.
One of the lovely members of our Marylebone Mums & Dads Facebook group has kindly written up her thoughts after attending the opening event for the new Bryanston Nursery in Marble Arch. Many thanks to Soraya !
Bryanston Nursery @ Marble Arch is a new nursery on Bryanston Street opening its doors in October 2018 to parents working and living in Marylebone. Claire Laine is the director and it is her family business that already runs two other nurseries in Bath successfully.
There are two huge rooms for babies and toddlers, beautifully arranged with different activity corners and colorful wooden toys, almost looking like an indoor adventure playground. Although the nursery is in the basement, the rooms are bright and very friendly with a warm and cheerful atmosphere. Furthermore, there is a parents’ and staff lounge where parents can relax, work or have a free coffee before or after dropping off the kids. Here, parents have the opportunity to meet other parents or the staff to discuss their child’s development. What a wonderful and unique idea!
The children do everything in the same room: Sleeping, eating and playing. There is no set timetable and staff will follow the parents’ routine from home. The nursery has key access to the nearby Portman Square Gardens and the children will go there (in a cute Turtle Bus if they can’t walk, yet) for regular play times. Other outings like museum, park and zoo visits are planned for the near future.
Sarah Cornish, Director of Child Care and Education and an ex Ofsted Inspector, explains the very unique but child-friendly schedule of the nursery: There are no regular, daily lessons, however, the nursery will book in an extra-curriculum activity teacher (for example: yoga, ballet, tennis, football, cooking, French, music etc) for about 3 months and all children can try out and learn that activity every day for those 3 months. Other than that there is no schedule during the day: every child decides for themselves what activity they would like to do in one of the activity corners, this could be drawing, kitchen area, play dough, painting, role play, reading, climbing, sliding, sleeping, messy play, etc. All resources and activities are accessible to the children and the practitioners will work/play alongside the children to support their learning and thinking skills. Staff uses the iConnect system to share their observations and information on each child with parents on a daily basis.
The food is freshly prepared on site by the nursery’s own chefs Ellie and Jamie. At the launch party the nursery’s menu was not only beautifully arranged, healthy and colorful but also delicious! Claire Berridge, the friendly and welcoming Nursery Manager, tells me that the children are presented with a choice of healthy meal options and they can take whatever they would like to eat. To my surprise my toddler was jamming lots of healthy food options like cut vegetables with humus and fruit skewers.
The opening hours are from 7am-7pm and a full day’s fee is £75-£85 depending on the child’s age from 3 months - 5 years. This fee includes everything: food, nappies, outings and any extra-curricular lessons. The nursery’s booking sessions are extremely flexible and accommodating, even a “term-time-only” option is available.
The only downside: On entering the nursery there are stairs with about 20 steps and parents need to carry down their buggy and leave it in the buggy area. The nursery’s cleaner will be at the door to help. Other than that, the Bryanston Nursery seems a very happy and friendly place where children can enjoy their days developing friendships in a nurturing and safe environment.
Bryanston Street, Marble Arch, Marlyebone, London W1H 7AH
Please note that the October coffee morning today (10th Oct 2018) is CANCELLED.
Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Coffee Morning Wednesday 10th October 2018 10.30am - 12pm
Please come along to meet up at Paul on Baker Street.
All parents, carers and little ones welcome.
Coffee morning Wednesday 19th September 10am- 12pm
Please come along to Buongiorno e Buonaserra on Baker Street
All parents and carers welcome, and little ones too!
A new nursery is due to open in October 2018 at Marble Arch. I have been sent the following details which I am pasting across here as I believe it will be useful to many local parents.
Bryanston children’s Nursery @ Marble Arch – opening early October
Bryanston Nursery @ Marble Arch
Age of children: 0-5 years old
Cara Laine: Director
Sarah Cornish: Head of Child Care - ex Ofsted Inspector
Claire Berridge: Nursery Manager - email@example.com
Bryanston Nursery @ Marble Arch will be set in the gorgeous surroundings of the Annunciation Church in Marylebone and Portman Square gardens will be where the little ones will have their own garden !!
Bryanston Nursery offers a unique service, catering 100% for your child so that you can focus on your day/work and trust your child is in safe hands.
This is one of the only nurseries in Central London taking children from 3 months to 5 years old.
A family business with hugely successful nurseries in Bath which already have a proven track record, history and solid reputation.
Key strengths which set Bryanston @ Marble Arch apart from others:
Accepting the 30hrs funding nursery in Central London location
Flexible hours - working around a flexible timeline whereby children can be booked for half days/full days, term time only, long mornings etc
Byranston will open at 7.00am and close at 7.00pm
Fully trained and qualified nursery staff whom have worked in their other nurseries in Bath (Combe Down and Guinea Lane)
Low leavers rate across all staff and currently going through the Investors in People Award
Provide nappies and wipes on site so parents do not have to provide (once a child is dropped off at Bryanston Nursery their every need is catered for)
The chefs are working towards the Early Years Nutrition Award which will be provided at Bryanston, child’s nutrition is a high priority
New toilets/desks & chairs – the whole building is being refurbished to provide suitable and safe environment
Relaxing waiting area for parents for coffee/chat/wait for children/ free Wi-Fi
Sunday school is held at the church in one of main nursery rooms
Family run business – whom own x2 hugely successful Nurseries: 'Combe Down' & 'Guinea Lane' in Bath
Unique nursery service
Easy for pick up and drop off
Nursery with a proven track record, history and solid reputation
Portman Square Gardens which is gated and only accessed by key will provide the outside play area for the children, the nursery will have a Turtle Bus for the non-walkers so that all children can benefit from the outdoor space
Bryanston focus on your child so that you can focus on your day/work and trust your nursery 100%
30hrs a week nursery in Central London location – open from 7.00am – 7.00pm every week day
Flexible hours - working around a flexible timeline whereby children can be booked for half days/full days or specific time slots/hours
x2 successful nursery staff whom already work in Bath (Combe Down and Guinea Lane)
Low leavers rate across all staff
Provide nappies and wipes on site so parents do not have to provide (once a child is dropped off at Bryanston their every need is catered for)
New toilets/desks & chairs - whole building is being refurbished to provide suitable and safe environment
Relaxing waiting area for parents for coffee/chat/wait for children/ free Wi-Fi
Sunday school is held at the church in one of main nursery rooms
Bryanston @ Marble Arch aim is to make parent’s lives and working hours more easily manageable, knowing that their children are happy, content and in a safe and secure environment. Their children can enjoy their days developing friendships in a nurturing environment.
I think its fair to say that most Marylebone families are living in a space that is probably a bit smaller than would be idea, with too much stuff primarily due to kid-related clutter. One day recently when toys and crayons had taken over the living area, my husband lamented about the lack of space. I pointed out we had looked at properties (in pre-child days) in Zone 2/3 which were 3x the size and he had said its too big, at which point he replied, "I didn't realise kids have so much STUFF!"
In an ideal world, I would have a formal living area as a lovely adult space and a kid-friendly space for all the STUFF. However that was the compromise when we decided to live centrally.We all probably have too much stuff too, and Marie Kondo etc have made a living from telling us to throw away our stuff, but inevitably it gets replaced by new stuff eventually. And of course if you get rid of your child's stuff without telling them, quite often it is suddenly their "most favourite toy ever and you threw it away".
For the last 5 years, our house has been a super-kid-friendly, kid-focussed space. It is comfortable, we aren't precious about our belongings, children can come and play and have fun. However as our daughter has grown up, we are gradually seeing less plastic primary-coloured tat and so we starting to feel like we could reclaim the space at least a little bit. However I still wanted to keep the space kid-friendly so we weren't at the stage of getting in an interior designer to rethink the space etc. This is where Nete with her business Moberry Interior stepped in.
Nete is a local mum who has changed careers and is following her passion for home interior design. She has 2 children under 6 and knows all too well what we are up against when trying to have a beautiful yet practical home. She is Danish so has the fabulous Northern European eye for style and design. Nete is also very aware that at this intermediate stage of "reclaiming your home", you may not want to spend a lot of money and so is very aware of budget.
Nete came into our house and immediately pinpointed some very quick, easy and cheap things to do. We got rid of old throws from the sofa, moved a (slightly dubious patterned) rug to another area of the room, and removed doors from a tv wall cabinet we inherited from the previous owners. Just doing that, the room suddenly opened up! We moved some books around in the book shelves, and she inspired me to do a bit of decluttering of cupboards and shelves. All of this made a massive difference immediately at zero cost.
Next she advised on some possible colour schemes we could work with for the soft furnishings, as we had an eclectic collection of cushions we have acquired over the years. On her return visit she presented a couple of different colour schemes that tied in with some existing items we liked. For each colour scheme she presented a range of cushion covers and furnishings she had found online, all with sensible prices. I ended up going for ones from H&M so for under £40 I had a full new set of cushion pads and covers which look great! She also advised changing the boxes we use for toy storage to something more aesthetically pleasing. She presented some lovely affordable options as a starting point and when I used that to look around online more I found some fab wicker baskets in the John Lewis sale - so again a massive impact in the look of the room at low cost.
Nete made a scale diagram of the room and its furniture which we played around with. After a fun morning of moving furniture about we came up with ideal positioning of the existing furniture as well as a plan of action for replacing existing pieces over time. She picked out a few pieces online to guide me, we exchanged thoughts and found more options to bear in mind when we want to buy soemthing. Even though we haven't replaced our existing things yet, I now know what types of furniture will fit the look and feel of the room, and importantly what will not look good! We also talked about longer term bigger things we could do with the room if we decide to change things more dramatically.
We went through a lot of the prints and art that we have hidden away in our cupboards, and have decided which pieces will look good where, advising on the frames to go for. For someone with a poor aesthetic eye like me this has been so useful. Now I have started to understand a bit more.
Of course decluttering and staying on top of STUFF is key but the small changes made the room look so much better that it has been easier to keep it up as I want the room to stay looking nice.
Nete understands the needs of family life and had great ideas about combining needs like storage with the desire to make our spaces look lovely, all while being mindful of how much or little you are able to spend. Little things that she notices and can advise on can make a big difference, and her advice on bigger changes like new furniture are well-considered and sensible. I highly recommend her service.
You can find out more about Moberry at www.moberry.co.uk where you can also see some examples of her work. Alternatively you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coffee Meet-up Tuesday 15th May 10am
**New Venue** - Buongiorno e Buonasera at 58 Baker St, Marylebone, London W1U 7DD
The restaurant/cafe has kindly invited us to hold our coffee morning there. They are keen to introduce themselves to our Marylebone families community and would love to hear about what we are looking for in a venue, event or offers that would attract us etc. So please do come along for our usual meet-up but also share any thoughts you may have.