Meet the team. Natalie Monk

Natalie Monk

Natalie first trained as a nanny in 2007 gaining her BTEC Level 3 in Early Years, then working in a nursery setting for 1 year as a good career foundation.

Natalie secured her first nanny position in 2008, and has worked with many professional families, and VIP families as a live out and live-in nanny, with the opportunity of private jet, helicopter and chartered yacht travel with her charges.

In 2012 Natalie completed The NEST course in Postnatal care / Non-Medical Maternity Nursing Diploma, and is now a fully qualified maternity nurse. She has used this knowledge working with newborns and babies.

Natalie began her career in recruitment with Town & Country Nannies in 2015 and is now a highly regarded recruitment consultant working with nannies and families in the Essex area.

You can reach Natalie at Natalie@townandcountrynannies.co.uk

01245 477297  & 07801013398

Fluffy American Pancakes

FLUFFY AMERICAN PANCAKES

This is a gluten and dairy free recipe. You can use ordinary self raising flour, cow’s milk and butter for a regular recipe and do omit the Xantham Gum in this case.

Perfect for you and your charges!

fluffy American pancakes

Ingredients

  • 135g self raising Gluten Free flour (I use Doves Farm always available at large supermarkets)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (GF)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Xantham Gum (Doves Farm)
  • 140 ml almond milk (unsweetened) Use 130 ml if using cow’s milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or 2 tablespoons melted butter)

Method

  1. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl
  2. Put all the wet ingredients into a jug and whisk lightly
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and beat until smooth ( no lumps)
  4. Heat a large non stick fry pan with a little sunflower oil and when at medium heat. Drop a tablespoon sized piece of batter in the pan, you should get 4 in at a time and when you see bubbles on the surface, turn them over with a palette knife until the other side is nice and brown. You can make bigger pancakes, but watch the heat isn’t too high or the pancakes won’t cook on the inside.
  5. Keep the pancakes warm in the oven until all the batter is used.

To Serve: Dust with icing sugar, Maple Syrup, bacon, berries, bananas, ice cream, or  your favourite!

These pancakes are best eaten straight away.

Enjoy!

Health & Safety for Nannies

When you start a new job or if you move house with your family it is vital as the professional in the household to conduct a risk assessment for Health and Safety. Often parents are so used to their surroundings that they do not perceive risk in the same way as a newcomer. It is important that you ensure your workplace is safe for both you and the children you work with. The same applies if you travel with the family to a hotel or villa. Conduct the same risk assessment, it could save your life or theirs. Also, consider vigilance with Health and Safety when you are out and about with children in unfamiliar surroundings, and in car safety as we all know is paramount. This is all part of the general safeguarding of children which every professional nanny should understand is her primary duty to her charges.

We have looked to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) for help and guidance with this information. We follow their recommendations, advice and guidance and so should you. There is a wealth of information on their web site at www.rospa.com it is genuinely shocking how many infants and children are injured and killed at home each year. Please don’t be a statistic! Here are links to the most appropriate areas for your attention:
Bed time www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/keeping-kids-safe/bedtime
Bath time www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/keeping-kids-safe/bath-time
Meal Times and Kitchens www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/keeping-kids-safe/meal-time
Out and About www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/keeping-kids-safe/out-and-about
Playtime www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/keeping-kids-safe/playtime
Babyproofing www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/keeping-kids-safe/baby-proofing

I am sure many nannies already look at risk assessments as an ongoing practice, day to day. However, we can all become complacent, and we at Town and Country Nannies feel that ROSPA can help you protect you and your charges.

How can I secure my first job as a Nanny?

Nanny with child

Isn’t it hard trying to get your foot on the first rung of the ladder as a Nanny?

Perhaps you’ve been working for a few years in a nursery and have enjoyed it, but are now looking to progress to a sole charge position as a nanny. It may have been your dream all along and knew that you’d have to ‘serve your time’ as a nursery nurse first. It’s a big step, and a lot of really good nursery nurses underestimate the planning that needs to go into this project before you start.

It goes without saying that the first step should be to register with a good nanny agency. Look for one which is a corporate member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) there is another blog specifically about agencies, but it is an important step. Town and Country Nannies click here for details

Be realistic. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be offered a job at £30,000 a year as your first post (unless you are a Chiltern or Norland College graduate) You need to fine a position which will not be overwhelming to start with. I have seen some potentially wonderful nannies fail as they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, by going into a first job which is too demanding. Trust me there will be tears, either yours, the family’s or worse, the children’s. You need to find a position that will give you enough responsibility to give you confidence. Ideally with toddlers, and if you stay possibly subsequent baby(ies) or look for something else.

There are a lot of before and after school positions which are ideal first jobs for new nannies. Especially if the children go to an independent school which they may start at 3 or 4 years old. They receive about 19 weeks of holidays too, so although in term time you may have a gap in your day, it will give you a chance to study and improve your learning, or perhaps to discover a new talent that would be useful to your career  take up Advanced Driving with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, pass the test and get a reduction on your car insurance for life!) Often families want nanny full time in the holidays and you could be working a 50/60 hour week. Often salaries are evened out over the year so you receive the same salary each month. Easier for everyone!

Part time work such as before and after school posts are usually paid a higher rate per hour, and you’ll be surprised how much you can earn. It will be more than your nursery salary and a lot more interesting, too.

So think about which type of job you can start with and be flexible.

Make sure you can cook! A non cooking nanny isn’t going to be offered many positions. You need to learn to cook from scratch, so get a couple of Annabel Karmel’s books from the library and start to practice. Good cooks aren’t born, they’re made and it is only practice.

Polish up your laundry skills. Know how to use a washing machine, how to remove stains and how to use an iron properly. Most of us like wash and wear clothes but if you’re asked to iron school shirts you will need to have some idea.

I hope that you will find this insight into how to start looking for your first job as a nanny interesting, join me over on the Town & Country Nannies Website for more blogs and help to get you started.

Good Luck!

Paula Cornwell

Director, Town & Country Nannies.

Should I use an Agency now I need a new Nanny job?

Nanny and baby

Should I use an Agency now I need a new Nanny job?

All nannies have to find a new position sometimes, and it’s always hard moving on from a family whether it’s your choice to go or theirs. Unlike any other profession a nanny becomes attached to her charges, and therefore there is an emotional element in the job that many other workers simply don’t have.

Often if you are feeling a little out of your comfort zone, especially if you haven’t been out on interview for a while it’s understandable that you would look for help.

A good agency will be able to help you. All nanny agencies are employment agencies, so look for  one that has an affiliation to a body such as the Recruitment and Employment  Confederation (REC) or the Association of Nanny Agencies (ANA) These agencies have to work within the professional code of ethics set out by the body concerned, and REC agencies have had to pass compliance tests in recruitment practice and employment law and know what they’re doing.

Invariably, a good agency will have better jobs, it’s that simple. It can be time consuming trawling through the promises of jobs that are offered on sites where parents advertise directly.  Also, you know nothing about these families and you are hoping that they will provide you with enough money to keep a roof over your head and fed. A new job is not like buying a new handbag!

A good agency will prepare you for interview, send you to real jobs with good families that they know something about, and often have been referred to by other families they have worked with, and will look after you through the process. You should also get support in preparation for interview, and decent feedback .

The process of registration should be simple and free to the Nanny. It is unlawful to ask for payment to register with an agency. You should have a face to face meeting with the agency, in a situation that lends itself to them getting to know you well, ideally not in a coffee shop with a dozen screaming babies round you.  You will also be able to discuss your career aspirations so that the agency fully understand the type of position you are looking for.

After a successful interview the thing that most nannies dread is negotiating a decent salary, and again this is the agency’s job. Phew, great to have that taken care of, too. They will then ensure that your working hours and conditions are lawful, make sure that you are paid properly and sort out employment contracts for you, too.

Once you’ve started your new job the agency will be there for you if things don’t quite go to plan, and will be there to advise and guide you. On your own it can be very scary if circumstances change beyond your control and there is no one to offer you support.

In fact an agency will make life so much easier for you and it’s a free service to the nanny. What is there to lose?

I have had to listen to many stories from parents and nannies alike where things have gone dreadfully wrong because neither party really understands what to do. Life is easier if you have an expert on your side.

If you are looking for work and would like a first class agency to help you find your next position.  Town & Country Nannies would like to hear from you. Click here for information