I think lots of mum’s dream of writing a family-friendly guide to their area but very few get organised enough to actually do it. Whenever I go to a new place I rely on honest fun mum blogs to see what is going on in the areas that I can take my daughter to. When going to London I love to check what ‘Babes about Town’ is suggesting. From fun family-friendly festivals to shows and more. I was excited to reach out to Uju who writes the blog to find out what it takes to launch a successful blog and to find out about her imminent book release.
Hi Uju, welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum (or dad) should have to do everything herself, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! I love that you created a platform to support parents to find fun, hip, smart things to do in London. More recently you have been able to use your blog to support parents wanting to discuss race relations.
Can you tell us what inspired you to launch your blog and what has motivated you to keep on sharing?
I launched my blog way back in 2010, when many people didn’t really understand what a blog was. I had the idea a few years before, shortly after I had my first child. I had moved back to London from Lagos, Nigeria and felt quite isolated as a new mum. I wondered what kind of things I could still do with a baby — for instance, could we go out to eat or would other diners get annoyed?
I used to read a New York blog at the time called Mommy Poppins (I had lived in New York previously) and I thought it would be great to have something similar in London. A guide for city parents who didn’t want to give up on their love for good food and culture. Then I came up with the name Babes About Town which I thought was pretty snazzy, although of course it’s a bit of a saucy double entendre which gets me some interesting hits from Google!
Sometimes it amazes me that I’ve been blogging for 10 years but I still love it. My background is in journalism and I’ve been writing since I learned how to work a pen, so blogging is a great way to express my passions. I love that I still get emails from mums with new babies and toddlers who enjoy my content.
It’s also wonderful that there are families who have grown with my blog and watched my kids grow too. My boys are the original stars of Babes About Town, although of course now they’re way too old and too cool to be called babes!
What is the best family day you and your family have done in London?
Wow, that’s a big question. London has so much to offer and as a blogging family, we’ve been lucky to enjoy so many fantastic invitations and experiences. We love movies, theatre and especially eating out. I took my youngest on a mother/son date a while back to have a Matilda the Musical Afternoon Tea followed by watching the show in the West End. We had a brilliant time.
I think one of our most memorable days out more recently was a Star Wars VR Experience where we got to pretend to be Stormtroopers and even battle Darth Vader. If you are visiting London with kids, I always recommend heading to the South Bank because there’s always something to do — from food markets, to free street theatre, to great views across the river Thames.
And if you like partying, I have to give a shout out to our friends at Big Fish Little Fish who run the most amazing baby and child-friendly raves. Throughout lockdown, they’ve been hosting virtual Kitchen Raves with DJs from all over. So much fun.
Can you share with us the best way to start a blog and tell us more about your blogging workshops?
The best way to start a blog is just to start. Honestly. If you wanted, you could create a blog in the next 10 minutes. However, if you want to launch a successful blog, it’s helpful to set some goals, make a plan and learn from those who’ve done it first.
I started running blogging workshops a couple of years back through Mothers and Shakers (mothersandshakers.net), a digital consultancy I set up with some other bloggers. We had paused our live workshops even prior to the pandemic, however we’ve created an intro course that you can do online — we’ll be updating and launching it in the autumn hopefully.
You recently announced your upcoming book Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World – can you tell us more.
Bringing Up Race is a book that takes you on a personal journey to explore the impact of racism on children and how we can do better as parents. I share some of my own experiences, as well as stories from other mums, to show how deeply racism, microaggressions and racial bullying affect us individually and as a society.
I looked at lots of studies on race and I offer questions and talking points to help parents start these important conversations with their children. We have a huge opportunity with the next generation to raise them as kinder, more open and anti-racist humans so I’m excited to be doing my part. The book comes out on September 3 (you can pre-order on Amazon UK and Waterstones) so do please buy for yourself, for your friends, for your school — I believe everybody can take something useful from it.
Babes About Town has some powerful resources you recommend for parents wanting to educate their kids to do better when it comes to race. I won’t make you list them all again here but if you could recommend one kids’ book and one kid’s film what would that be?
There are tons of great books, films and other resources and you can find more on my blog here: http://babesabouttown.com/tag/bringing-up-race/. For a children’s book, I would recommend the picture book I Am Enough by Grace Byers because it really captures that sense of Black pride, kindness, self-acceptance and celebration of diversity that we need to see more of in the world.
For a kids’ movie, we enjoyed Akeelah and the Bee which follows an African American girl who competes for a national spelling contest. It’s inspirational and has some good points for discussion although it’s best suited for slightly older kids around ages 8+.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Please buy my book! If you do, take a photo and tag me with the hashtag #BringingUpRace. I can’t wait to hear what more readers think and I hope loads of people find it useful. I certainly learned a lot while writing it.
Bringing Up Race is out September 3, 2020 – Available for Pre-Order on Amazon UK
Buy on Waterstones
You follow Babes About Town on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.