Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

Emily (left) and Anna (right)

When we were living in Paris, we didn’t know our neighbours. There was no real need and, frankly, that’s not something that you were supposed to do. I could rely on family and friends over there. Well, things are slightly different in London and, over the years, I have become more and more accustomed to using local services. For instance, when I need a babysitter for my children, I use a website called Babysitters of Kensington And Chelsea . Believe it or not the young entrepreneur who created the website lives very close by and is called Anna.

This morning, Anna had organised a coffee for parents and some small local businesses to meet up. Being such a regular user of her website, I went with my younger daughter. The bad news (for me), is that I was surrounded by bright young things who had set up a business from scratch. It all made me feel ancient and slightly out of touch but hey, you have got to live with your time, right? Am feeling very tired right now. I hope it is not the onset of menopause.

Let me explain: I first met Emily, who has set up a tutoring business and who told me that she has 60 (yes, 60!) bright young tutors, and some of them are even helping kids as far as the Bahamas. She has set up Kings Tutors, and I feel slightly guilty not to pay any tutors for my kids. You see, I still do things the French way and check my children’s homework every evening, but Emily told me that it is a competitive world out there and now I don’t know what to do. Why are we mums always feeling guilty about everything? Will my kids miss out because of me? I sometimes wonder. 

Patricia and my daughter’s hand

Finally, I bumped into Patricia, the creator of Kids in Guide. Basically, her website lists all the possible activities for kids in London, including birthday party venues and sport activities. I was looking for swimming lessons during half term for my little one and found three possible schools near where we live thanks to her website. I had been trying to book something for ages. Silly old me. Patricia wants to roll out her site in Madrid and in New York. Wow. Bright young girls and mumtrepreneurs are clearly on their way to world domination. Beware. Seriously, I hadn’t realised that there were so many good local businesses out there, and that they were run mostly by women. Who said girls were sitting on their bottoms and waiting for things to happen? Even with a day job and sometimes kids, such women have put themselves out there, and I have to admit that I am humbled by such initiatives. And a bit jealous too, because I feel a bit past my sell-by date right now.  Things move really fast: I thought that having a blog was, you know, giving me an edge, but now it is all about going local. I hadn’t realised that Internet could get to know your local communities in ways I didn’t even think were possible, but this morning’s coffee is evidence of this. Right, off to have a nap now. At my advanced age, I need all the rest I can get.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London