We interviewed Dina Maktabi and Nathalie Bernadotte of Kensington Mums to get the low-down on this year’s annual Kensington Mums’ Christmas fair. We also find out a little bit about the duo behind the brilliant parenting website, picking their brains on motherhood, and recipes to finding out all about their recommendations for things to do in Kensington.
Kensington Mums was established in 2011. Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your decision to launch the support network, and how far you’ve come since then.
Dina: I created Kensington Mums with the aim of helping my local community of Mums to connect and share knowledge and experiences with one another. At first, it started off mainly being my close friends, but after having my second baby, the idea of having a bigger network support came to mind and in a sense created a passion in me to help mums outside my group of friends. Being a mum is definitely the hardest job in the world and it’s vital that mums have support and know they are not alone. We support mums in their journey through motherhood, sharing tips, swapping advice and offering one another inspiration and motivation to make our motherhood journey a memorable one. In 2014 we set up a sister website in the Middle East. In 2015, we launched our KM app available on iTunes and Google play.
What are your three top tips for any expectant mums out there?
a) Always follow your motherly instincts. No matter what people tell you, you know best when it comes to your child!
b) Take help when help is offered! Even when you feel you can do it all, make sure you always have stored energy because each day with a baby, toddler or child is full of surprises.
c) Get some sleep now 😉
Share with us your favourite family recipes.
Dina: My family love a good lasagne and I always try and sneak in veggies inside that are finely cut so the kids don’t notice them. Other favourites include honey mustard chicken served with rice, just because we like the sweet and sour taste. Salads are our favourite and nothing beats a nice quinoa salad or tabouleh salad.
Nathalie: We love making pancakes on Saturday or Sunday mornings. We have an easy and healthy recipe, which requires just 1 egg and 1 banana. You mix the two together, et voilÃ . You then heat up a non-stick pan and pour the mix in round pancake shapes for a few (3/4 minutes) per side.
My son loves it when we make mini ones and then giant ones. The kids love them and they see them as special treat because they are called pancakes. They are so delicious and actually very good for you the kids love them. It’s a WIN-WIN for everyone!
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Dina: I would say pacifiers and wet wipes. Those two were my life saviour. Also in the early years of motherhood when I used to breastfeed my little ones, I use to run home as I was not comfortable doing that in public. Luckily I met an ex-pat American Mum called Jennifer and she gifted me an breastfeeding cover that she got from the States and since then I have never gone back home to breastfeed. I think I may have breastfed my babies everywhere you can think of: plane, car, boat, coffee shop, shopping mall, parking lot, swimming pool. I think you get the message 😉
Nathalie: I travelled a lot when I had my first child and I couldn’t have done without my sling. I found it easy to use and very comfortable in every situation. I love it and highly recommended to all mums to be.
Where do you go in Kensington with the family for a) fun, b) food and c) culture?
Dina and Nathalie: Living in Kensington we are very lucky to have some of London’s most beautiful parks close to home so that’s where a lot of our family fun and adventures happen. The Diana Memorial playground in Kensington Gardens has the most incredible giant pirate ship that all kids (and some parents too) can’t get enough of! Holland Park Adventure Playground is another favourite hang out for us.
For food the choice in Kensington and Chelsea is endless. With kids, Wholefoods Market is always a good option as the restaurant area has so much to choose from and everyone can have something different but eat together. The place is also very family friendly with lifts for buggy users, high chairs and baby changing facilities too. Another recent family favourite is Farmacy on Westbourne grove with lots of healthy dishes & drinks to choose from its impossible not to keep the whole family happy.
Museums – The South Kensington Museums including The Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum offer a range of family events and activities especially on weekend. Their workshops are perfectly tailored for all ages groups.
Tell us about this year’s Kensington Mums Christmas Fair, and why it’s must for the November dairy.
We couldn’t be more excited, only a few more weeks to go!
The wonderful thing about the fair is that it really is for everyone! It’s a way to get the community together and enjoy a family day out as the festive season come near. We have some amazing brands exhibiting on the day and some wonderful entertainment for the children. Check out the event program here. It will be a day of fun, and the perfect day to start shopping for Christmas gifts. Doors open at 10am and we will be handing out 100 VIP goody bags for the early ones who walk in the door. At 11am, we will be cutting the cake as Kensington Mums turns 5 this year. We can’t believe where time has gone. We also have some amazing raffle prizes to be won at 2pm supporting Best Beginnings.
How are you both planning on spending Christmas this year?
Dina: This year we will be spending Christmas with my family in Lebanon, eating lots of yummy Lebanese food, seeing friends and family and getting fat!
Nathalie: We are on a travelling mission to visit both families this Christmas! We are flying to Italy just before Christmas and from there we drive to the south of France for Swedish celebration of Christmas on the 24th and then Christmas Day on the 25th. It’s the only way for the kids to see all the great grandparents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and have fun with their cousins, we cannot wait!
Any New Year’s resolutions?
Dina: I do not believe in New Year resolutions, but If I had to choose it would be to find a balance between working full time and being a Mum as well, that has been the biggest challenge to me so far.
Nathalie: Since becoming a mother of two ‘me time’ happens less and less so my new year resolution is to make more time for myself, my friends and make sure that the time spent with my little ones is more quality time.
Oh and, have more patience is another one!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Dina: Crazy mama!
Nathalie: I try and do it all