Friday, 26 August 2016

Just left my job...........

I'm sat on a train from Euston on my last day commuting to London, and I'm feeling it all - sad, anxious, excited.... After 10 years working for the same university in central London I've left my job to start up as A self employed childminder.

After having the girls work felt completely different, I still loved my job and I feel privileged to have worked in a job where despite the frustrations there are days when you leave feeling like you have made a genuine difference to someone's life but I really started to feel torn. 

After having the girls I realised what I really wanted was to be working within the early years sector, I loved watching my own girls learn and develop and to be honest was continually astounded by how amazing these little people are - the extent to which young children can learn, grown and understand the world around them is inspirational and to be able to be part of that learning and to encourage and be part of that progress is a real privilege 

It hasn't been an easy process, undertaking the training with a 1 and 4 year plus a job in London is a challenge in itself. I'm experiencing massive delays with my local police force for my DBS clearance and Ofsted's own registration process takes forever. That and the fact that every step and stage of the training and registration costs a small fortune but I will get there!

It's so disappointing that the process is so time consuming, as someone who has used childminders there is a real need out for good quality, reliable and flexible childcare there yet it seems like there are constant obstacles in the way of those trying to set up.

So all of this means that sadly I wont be able to get working as soon as I want and Poor Mr R will be working his butt off to keep us afloat but it'll be worth it. Seeing how happy my big girl is to have her mummy at home with her is a very big reminder of why I'm doing this and what we can gain as a family as a result. 
I have no doubt a bit of me will miss London, miss the little bit of child free time I get when working, not to mention the regular salary but there is a much bigger adventure ahead for me and my Girlies and can't wait!

Friday, 5 August 2016

On one of our very rare child free meals we recently went to Jamie's in St Slbsns and I had a fantastic fish stew, in fact all the food was predictably fantastic!

We were recently invited to try The addition to Jamie's in St Albans - Jamie's Pizzeria so we're very happy to agree and even took the smalls with us this time!

On arrival we weren't entirely sure where to go as the Pizzeria is directly next door to the existing restaurant but we were soon shown the way and shown to our seat

The restaurant had a great decor and felt really relaxed, it's attached to the main restaurant (with shared toilet facilities) so felt a little unusual but the welcome was warm.

Having young children, other than the menu there are two things I look for in a restaurant which I hope will make it possible for me to 1) actually eat my food while it's hot and 2) pretend that eating in a restaurant is a lovely stress free experience and we enjoy every second of it. The highchairs and the activity packs!
Thankfully Jamies Pizzeria uses Stokke highchairs which along with the ikea ones are pretty much the only two which Freya can't escape from (well they make it a little harder) this meant that there was at least a 50/50% chance she would stay sat down long enough for us to order and eat the starters. The activity packs were also good - colouring crayons etc, possible a little old for Freya but she's generally happy with some colouring. 

So the food...... The menu is fairly simple which I quite liked as it often means whats there is good quality and well cooked rather than a place trying to cover everything and not doing anything particularly well. We started with olives as both the girls could literally inhale them and some delicious garlic bread with rosemary.  
For mains we all ordered pizzas (there is a forno dish of the day for those wanting an alternative but we felt that as a pizza restaurant we wanted to try the pizzas on offer) The pizzas are really delicious, fresh and light with a definite homemade feel to them. The girls had the kids pizza which also came with a shaker salad which they loved. My cheese monster big girl complained about the lack of cheese on the pizza and to be fair she had a point but it's minor and I'm sure you could request extra if you wished.

We were probably too full for deserts but it felt rude not to try something so the girls had ice cream and we opted to share a chocolate brownie. This came with toffee popcorn and salted caramel ice cream and was seriously tasty! The girls ice creams were fine but they did come with an amaretto biscuit which they did't like and I thought was a bit of a grown up choice if I was being picky.

As an overview the food was great and I'd definitely recommend it, everything felt freshly made and we all loved our choices

Restaurant wise I did feel having the pizzeria as an attachment to the main restaurant left you feeling a bit forgotten. We booked at 4.30 on a Sunday so I appreciate it wasn't the busiest of times however during our meal we didn't have a member of staff within the pizzeria for the whole time instead they came and went from the main restaurant and there were times when we were entirely alone in the restaurant feeling a little bit like we were in the sitting room at a party while everyone else was in the kitchen.

As a result of this we felt a little flat when we left and both agreed that we'd definitely return for the food but we we didn't feel very well looked after and the dining experience itself was a little detached. I'd be interested to return at a busier time to see if the experience is different

We were invited to try the food at Jamie's Pizzeria but all words and opinions are my own
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