A few weeks ago, I was very lucky to be invited along to the first ever Mummytime pop-up event that took place at the Carnegie Hall Library in Herne Hill, south London. The brainchild of first time parents, Lucy and Galina, Mummytime was created very much with new mums in mind, giving them a couple of hours to focus on themselves- whether that be with a back massage or manicure in the pop-up spa, joining in with a discussion group, or, (my nectar) tea and cake- all whilst their little ones are cared for in the on-site creche.
IT SOUNDED RUDDY FANTASTIC.
So off Frank and I trotted one dismal Tuesday morning. Horrendous south-circular traffic aside, we arrived only 20 minutes late, and once I’d got rid of my sodden coat (drenched from the 30 second walk from car to venue), stuffed all my various parenting paraphernalia in to the Babyjogger, sorted Frank out, retrieved my camera and parked up in the buggy park, I was able to take a deep breath and let the me-time begin.
I’d been booked in for a pamper package at 12.30pm, so had a good hour and a half to wander round and see all that was on offer. First stop was the Bundle of Joy stand, which we’d been made aware of prior to the event. A local initiative to the Herne Hill community, Bundle of Joy is designed to redistribute outgrown children’s clothing to support families in the local area, and although this didn’t apply to me, I was more than happy to help so had come armed with a small bag of good quality clothes that Frank had outgrown.
Relieved of the extra weight (I had a camera on one shoulder and a 16lb heffalump on the other), Frank and I wandered from stall to stall, chatting to the local artisans who had been invited along by Lucy and Galina to show off their wares. From vintage homeware items and antique jewellery, to posh soaps, textiles sourced from Ethiopia, a garden designer and a cake maker who was raffling off a ‘cupcake bouquet’ later that day, I thought the stalls were unique, interesting and relevant to the local community… if a little out of my pathetic statutory maternity pay affordings. A thoroughly enjoyable half hour was spent none-the-less.
After all that nattering (and posing of a grumpy Frank in the baby photobooth area), it was time for us both to eat. AYA Cafe had come along to provide an impressive array of sandwiches, cakes, fresh juices and hot drinks, and my chicken, cheese and chutney grilled sandwich on homemade sourdough bread was fantastic, if a little sloppy to eat with Frank on my lap. Step in a fellow mummy called Jo who was sat close by and offered to hold him whilst we compared parenting notes and I very inelegantly stuffed the delicious and dripping concoction down my throat. Thank you Jo. And apologies you had to watch me cover myself in hot chutney.
Finally it was time for the main event, the part I had most definitely been waiting for… my Chilled Out Chica pamper package. For a £50 ticket there were a selection of pamper packages available (singular treatments were £30) and included entry to the event, use of the on-site creche, and access to the expert talks on nutrition and personal fitness that were taking place throughout the morning- although I didn’t get a chance to partake in these. The Chilled Out Chica consisted of a 25 minute back and shouder massage, and a 25 minute reflexology session- all whilst Frank was having fun (for the best part) courtesy of Harmony at Home who were running the pop-up creche in the room next door.
Now, with the whole event taking place in a library, I wasn’t expecting lush spa surroundings, but the team from Return to Glory had done a pretty good job sectioning off a large and unremarkable library room in to calm and private treatment areas. My therapist, Jacquie, was lovely, and the back massage in particular was brilliant. I got a little distracted through the reflexology session as the wails of my child from the next room gently (and then not so gently) drifted in. He was well overdue a nap, so I found myself thinking things like “I hope they’ve found his dummy in the bag I left with them”, and “I should have told them he likes to be rocked”, as opposed to, “Oh my goodness, what are you doing to my little toe? That feels DIVINE.” Anyway, 10 minutes before the end the wails stopped, and I emerged, bleary-eyed and dodgy-haired, to a quiet Frank conked out in the arms of an (exhausted) creche lady. A success, I’d say!
It was a very lovely way to spend a morning, and although the location wasn’t brilliant for me personally being based in Kent (the south circular is one of my most hated things in the world), I absolutely love the whole idea behind Mummytime. It is an enormous and exhausting job being the full time parent, and though it seems awfully decadent to spend a morning being pampered, it is something all mums deserve once in a while. And whilst £50 is a lot of money on meagre maternity wages, I think that for two treatments and good quality childcare, it’s actually incredibly good value. Something I’d certainly ‘encourage’ Paul to treat me to anyway…
As the very first event, there are a couple of teeny tiny things I think could be improved to make this excellent venture even better. Perhaps the stalls could be a little more relevant to mothers and babies- a clothes and toys swap for instance? A local sling library? And although Carnegie Hall was beautiful and tranquil (and is unfortunately due to close this month, hence why Lucy and Galina wanted to support it by holding the event there), the toilets/baby changing facilities weren’t ideal with it being an older building.
A calm and relaxing morning with a community feel; I’m pretty sure the ladies of Herne Hill will be looking forward to the next event should it take place in that area again, and I hope that Mummytime is something that will start rolling out across London (and eventually the country!) soon. Having spoken to Lucy and Galina, I know that ticket prices may vary depending on venue/location, but you can sign up here to be the first to hear about the next pop-up event, and if you visit them on their Facebook page, they’re currently running a competition to give away a free ticket to the next event if you tell them where it should take place and share their page!
What do you think? Is this something you’d like to do as a new mum?
Til’ next time you lovely lot…
(On a side note, I know it has been AN AGE since I’ve checked in properly. I’m actually off to Canada tomorrow to introduce Frank to my Mum’s side of the family, but when I’m back I promise a big Frank/life update. Can you believe he’s SIX MONTHS this week?? I can’t. I actually can’t.)