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As part of our 20th anniversary year celebrations at Time & Leisure Magazine, the ed team interviewed a working mum close to home to open the section….

Many readers aren’t aware of the people behind the scenes of a publishing house, they know the editor, possibly the sales team, so this editorial was a great opportunity to connect with our female readership who are often doing their own juggling act with work and kids.

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My scrumptious five month old son comes into work with me nearly every week and
attended his first board meeting at just 8 weeks old. I’m lucky to have such a supportive team who accept Otis breastfeeding whilst we work. It’s not always ideal, it can be distracting and exhausting but I feel priviliedged to be in the position that I can enjoy both work and family.

Not used to being in front of the camera, I asked the best photographer I know to capture these lovely family pics. My brother Joe popped in to take these shots on our way to a family birthday party, so we were busy making cakes and too excited to sit still for long. In a parallell universe I wouldn’t be looking so sleep deprived or have my daughter arrive home with make-up by her 6 year old best friend, but I was so proud that she chose Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls to read – she’s so cool.

As ever, Time & Leisure magazine is a real family affair and I love it for that.

The August is out now, read it online and turn to page 76 or scroll down

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Gails, Exmouth Market

A parents guide to Top Ten coffee shops, EC1

Top Ten Coffee shops for mums and babies in EC1, Islington, London

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A guide to the best coffee shops in EC1, we’ve checked out all the important things that help make meeting friends and babies so much easier and fun; baby change facilities, highchairs, decaf coffee, cakes, and babycinos, of which my 2 1/2 year old daughter is a mean critic.

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Ground Control, Amwell Street

Some of the best coffee in the neighbourhood, they take their coffee very, very seriously. Small inside so no room for buggies but the outside area has a couple of tables, space for prams, and railings to contain little ones in the summer.  Some very delicious home made cakes and croissants are hard to resist on the counter. If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant and off caffeine, this is one of the best decaf coffees in town. Water served with coffee.
Toilet but no baby changing, no highchairs.
Free babycinos, thoughtfully served at a lower temperature.

Gails, Exmouth Market

TGails, Exmouth Markethis place is almost the perfect place for mums and children. The coffee is always great here and there is a delicious variety of cakes, bread, sandwiches and croissants. Their cherry chocolate scones are possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Help yourself to water. There is a little bit of space for prams, a fabulous long bench, some low chairs (although on wheels which is difficult for little ones) but once you’ve made camp, it can be a great place to spend some time and have a good natter. The downsides are, it can get crowded (especially after Harriettes sing-along kick out) and the surrounding cool customers don’t always appreciate little ones being… little ones. Great decaf coffee.
Babycinos 50p
Excellent baby changing facilities

Cafe Nero, Exmouth Market

Cafe Nero, Exmouth MarketYou can always get a table here but if you can get the sofas here then you’re in a good place. I’m not a fan of the coffee here but good herbal teas, soft drinks, frappacinos, sandwiches, cakes and most importantly the babycinos are free. Space for a few buggies and help yourself to water. The door is quite often left open so not great if you’ve got a young toddler who loves exploring.
Good baby changing facilities
Babycinos FREE

Eshk, Goswell Street

Lots of fabulous sofas in this very cool, independent Clerkenwell coffee house. But as such it is always busy so good luck getting a sofa seat as they are in great demand by the laptop coffee guzzlers. I like this place because its buzzy, good music so you don’t feel like you’re disturbing the peace. Great sandwiches and cakes on offer too. Help yourself to water.
No baby changing. Babycinos 50p

Look Mum No Hands, City Road

I can always find an excuse to pop in here this cool London establishment for a coffee. I don’t know why I love this place but it grabbed my attention from the day it opened. The service is always slow, there is no space for buggies, it’s always busy. But there is a delicious, healthy menu, great coffee, free magazines, water available. Designed for bike couriers I don’t think i’ve ever seen a courier in the place but its got some great cycle paraphernalia around and a cool hip crowd, inevitably tapping away on their laptops. Oh to have nothing to do all day!
Quirky baby changing facilities but incredibly they do have them

Emporium Cafe, Upper street, Highbury and Islington end

Emporium, Upper StreetOk, so strictly speaking this one is in N1, but it is a brilliant place to meet up with other mums. Spacious, so room for buggies, lots of tables and chairs. Whilst the coffee isn’t memorable they offer hot food, served quickly and easy to eat which is a bonus when you have to grab mouthfuls between breastfeeding, changing nappies, or chasing down a toddler.
Baby changing facilities, slightly on the small side
Highchairs available

Pret, St John Street

Pret, St John StreetThere are so many Prets that you probably know their menu already. The one near Angel is relatively less busy than the others so there are often good booth seats and plenty of space for buggies. And you can’t go wrong with their chocolate covered rice cakes and popcorn for lower calorie snacks. Service is really friendly for a chain and babycino refills served with a smile.
Babycinos: FREE
Highchairs
Great baby changing facilities in large disabled toilet.

Fix, Whitecross Street

Very cool, fabulous sofas, but it’s hard work competing with the laptop loungers to get a seat in this place. A nice independent serving good coffee so worth going if you can go when it’s not so busy.
No baby changing

Costa, Barbican

The counter is in the barbican foyer so this one is a great place for big groups to meet, with buggies as there is masses of space, lots of seats, and a child friendly crowd who don’t seem too bothered by littles ones making noise. Lots of space for toddlers to run and roam inside on rainy days, nice outside area, although a little scary with the water having no railings if you have a todder. There are two disabled toilets on the ground floor and one in the Barbican cafe has baby changing facilities.

Sweet, Exmouth Market

The most amazing hot and cold food, great coffee and free babycinos makes this place a winner. The downside is the seating inside isn’t family friendly with high tables and tall stools. Also, cakes in the window are displayed with easy acess for little people and at little people height. So my tip is not to order anything from the bottom shelf that might have had sticky toddler fingers on! Great if you can get a table outside in the summer or don’t mind a bit of fresh air and keeping a close eye on little ones near the road.
Babycinos: FREE

Save it for date night!
Caravan

This is on the list in case you’re tempted to try it. I have done, a couple of times but all it really does is make me yearn for the child free responsibility free days of my 20s. A mecca for all things cool but probably the most un-friendly place for kids in town. No space for buggies. My advice – save it for date night or go to the Kings Cross one!
No baby changing
Babycinos a whopping £1.50

Pure Family photo shoot

The best thing about photo shoots at home is that your family can simply relax and play, and allow the spontaneous nature of your young family to shine through.

Using the setting of your own home, babies are comfortable and safe, and young children relax as they can be themselves. As a photographer, my job is to help you feel relaxed and enjoy yourselves. I often start by building trust with the children so they get used to my camera, whilst looking for opportunities to be creative, working with the personalities of your children and the things they like to do. Although many of us feel uncomfortable in front of the camera, the nature of the shoot means we often have some fun!

If you have an idea of what you’d most like to capture, we can work out what you want before we start; the intimacy of family cuddles, a series of fun and games, a more formal family portrait, or perhaps a series of other photos you’ve seen.

After the shoot I’ll send you a selection of images from which you can choose your top 10 images. You’ll then receive a set of high quality digital photos on a presentation cd that you can print or turn into a photo book. They are yours to use as you wish, and as many times as you’d like.

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Photoshoot: The Rivers family, 2013

Price £249
Includes a 2 hour photo shoot in your own home, 10 high resolution images (size 10″x8″) on a presentation cd

Many of the families I work with are in South West London, Wimbledon, Putney, Wandsworth, Kingston, Surrey, Clapham & Fulham. And in North London in Islington and Clerkenwell. Find out what they had to say after their photo shoot – read their testimonials.

Book a family shoot

Bright eyed poppet

Those first few weeks of life are so exquisite, it’s an honour to get a peak into those early days of a new born baby. Mum Clare told me she had loads of photos of her 5 week old baby but she couldn’t hold the camera and keep her daughter awake, So the brief was to shoot photos with her eyes wide open, and with Sylvia Rose being a bright-eyed little poppet, we had a great time doing it.

Click on images to see the gallery

There were fabulous big windows letting in a beautiful soft winter light , and we shot some great black and white images. Her little personality lit up as Mum cuddled and played with her. To get the perfect setting, we moved furniture around a little bit, and used some of gorgeous new white blankets and outfits Syliva Rose had been given as presents.

Mum was super relaxed and willing to get creative, I was delighted when she agreed to try popping her in one of the wicker baskets they had around. But it was all too cosy and Sylvia drifted off to sleep and at that moment I got the shot of the day. I love this shot, it is totally natural, no studio lighting or set up, we just went with what was available on the day and got very lucky!

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Thanks to Clare and Sylvia Rose.