BAPAA Welcome Event Photos

Wow, 500 au pairs! That is how many au pairs attended the Sunday gone in the London BAPAA Au Pair Welcome Event. The event brought together au pairs from many different BAPAA agencies for some fun activities, socialising and above all finding new friends.

Tuuli, Smartaupairs Director was the host for the day, joined by Simge and Gianna from Smartaupairs team and other helpers from seven other BAPAA agencies.

Here are some of our snaps from the day 🙂

Bapaa welcome event vol 1 #bapaa #bapaauk #aupairinuk #aupairagency #aupairinlondon #aupairinbritain #smartaupair #smartaupairsuk

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Au Pair in Britain Program Changes

***There are very important changes to the au pair in Britain program*** 

BAPAA, the British Au Pair Agencies Association, has confirmed new program guidelines in September 2017.

Smartaupairs is a BAPAA member agency and thereby, these changes are also applicable to our host families and au pairs who register with us for a new search. 

These changes are aimed to clarify & improve the au pair in Britain program to ensure we continue attracting the very best of the au pair applicants.

At smartaupairs, certain guidance points have been adapted to simplify the placement and weekly pocket money payment process for both families & au pairs.

A Summary of the Guidelines – Many of these points are long standing to Smartaupairs, however some guidelines have been further defined. 

– Minimum Pocket Money Guidelines: £85 for 25h, £100 for 30h (£115 for 35h). Higher pay applies for more experienced/native English speaking au pairs.
The above pocket money rates include a compulsory contribution towards local travel/language classes.
 
– Two Evenings of Babysitting (Monday-Friday) are included in this pocket money and in the au pair weekly hours.
Example: If you therefore require 30h/week – this will include the daytime on duty hours & babysitting hours. 

– Au pairs are entitled for 2 full free days a week – typically, Saturday & Sunday.  Any extra/weekend babysitting, is to be paid extra at £5/h for European au pairs and at £7/h for native English speaking au pairs. 
 
Light household duties continue to be limited to up to 1h/day.
 
– An End of Stay Bonus of one week’s pocket money is payable for au pairs who are staying for 6 months or longer – subject to completion of the full mutually agreed stay.
– The title au pair to be only recognised by BAPAA for roles which require up to 30h/help per week – higher hours roles are no longer being recognised as part of the traditional au pair programme. The term au pair plus is therefore no longer recognised by BAPAA.
If you have any queries regarding the above guidelines, just let us know and we are happy to help!
E-mail: info@smartaupairs.com
Call: 03301119266
Please visit the BAPAA website for further information – http://bapaa.org.uk/host-families/what-is-an-au-pair/

Au Pairs Nominate Their Host Dads for our Father’s Day competition

We wish a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all dads and host dads out there!

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As last year we asked our au pairs to nominate their host dads for our FATHER’S DAY COMPETITION. The au pairs had to tell us why their host dad is special for them and why they are so important in their actual experience as an au pair.  🙂

The winner of our competition is Cornelia, a German au pair 🙂

Hey there, I hope you are well.  Here is my little letter about my host dad Wes. I attached a photo, which I think describes really well what a great dad he is.
“Hey there, well I’d like to introduce my host dad Wes who’s doin‘ a fantastic job in my view.  He’s not only young at heart, but he is also a super reliable and supportive dad. Moreover, he’s always doing his best to make it for watching the boys‘ matches or school events even though he got loads of work to do. Honestly, I really admire this energetic enthusiasm after a long work day when he is still able to spend fun time with the boys, being patient with all of us, cooking fantastic dinners or entertaining us with the corniest jokes (no offense lol).
From the first moment on, when he picked me up from the airport, he did his best to make me feel as comfy as possible and  what shall I say? He succeeded in every way with his humorous warmth!
Well Wes, in case you read this I just want to say thank you! Thanks for these ritual cups of tea and the interesting never- ending and sometimes foolish conversations about everything and anything, thanks for helping me out with so many things I couldn’t manage on my own, thanks for all the trust and confidence you have in me, thanks for all this good advice and encouraging words and thanks for being such a good host dad! Yep u are truly awesome and definitely deserve biggest recognition! Have a happy Father’s Day ! “

What a great way to express her feelings!

However, we had lovely letters from other participants as well. It seems like your host dads are amazing fathers.

Runners up below!

We thank all of you for participating.

From Alexia – German`

There is no better host dad than mine: Jas!

After I had a very bad experience in my old host family I felt lost. It was hard for me to keep open minded but than I met the Manns. Jas promised me to look after me and to make sure that I’ll have the best experience ever. The most important thing for him is that everyone is happy.

He is always kind and cheerful. Jas is the best possible dad even if he had a long day and the children are a bit naughty he stays calm and fair. It doesn’t matter what time it is: if it is night and I am scared to walk home from the train station or if it is day and I need help with anything. Jas is 24/7 supportive.

Although he is very busy he is always thoughtful. That is one of his most impressive characteristics.

Jas is my superhero host dad and I can never thank him enough for what he did for me. He kept his promise and made the au pair experience the best of my life. It makes me very sad to leave them in July but I know that they will always be a part of me.

Thank you Jas (and Lynda of course)

Happy father‘s day!

Alexa xx

From Johanna – German

My host dad is the best, because he kills all the spiders in my rooms at any time. Last week he drove 20 minutes to help me unpark my car, because I got boxed in. He got up, although he had a sore head from drinking the night before.

He shows a lot of dry humour towards his kids, what makes me laugh a lot. He is a loving and kind dad! Thank you Jason!
So many good words for their host dads!
Long or short, all letters show how important a father can be for us!
The Smartaupairs Team wishes all host dads a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. ❤
Enjoy your day! 🙂

Sunday 11th June 2017 : The London Colour Run

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Blog entry by Aurelie & Isabelle – the current smartaupairs interns. Photo credits go to our amazing Aussie au pairs who took some fantastic snaps during the day.

***

Hi everybody,

We completed the 2017 London Colour run last weekend. It was such a beautiful day. We had the chance to wear our colour run shirt with our Happy tattoos. 😉

We arrived at Wembley park at 1:45 to take our race pack. We received : a head band, a tattoo, and a T-shirt. Nice touch!

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At 2:30 pm we stretched and danced. Moreover, If you were lucky you could catch some fashionable colour run sunglasses and socks.  You could also buy colourful product of all sort. 😉

From 3:00 to 3:45 we walked to the starting line. Everyone was so excited to run and to get coloured. We were advancing by groups and getting to know new people in the line while listening to music.

3:45 the run begun, some people were walking and some other were running, there was no competitive spirit just fun and colours. Every kilometre you could enjoy getting splashed by colours every door making you look like a rainbow. From pink to red. We had to go through: green, pink, an unexpected foam zone , orange and finally red.

 

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We arrived at 4:45 at the finish line (yes, we are really slow). Where you could enjoy the music, and dance under the sun. We also threw all at the same time our last bag of colours in the air.

It must really have been the happiest 5K of the planet, we couldn’t see the time flying by as we were walking those 5 kilometres, it was the shortest 5 kilometres we have ever experienced.

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At the end of the event, you could receive a plastic coat to protect others in the metro from getting coloured. When we finally went back to the centre of London, the experience was still in our mind and people were staring at us not knowing the beautiful experience we had. We went home full of thought of the day, and we all shared the feeling that it was continuing as we went back home all colourful, whether it was on our shirts or in our mind.

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It was a beautiful experience to live and If I could do it again, I would do it again – as it was so much fun. 😊

If you missed the event, it is nothing to be worried about – as you can always participate to the next one!

Thank you again to the Australian Au Pairs for their pictures they are all so nice 😊 ❤

Aurelie (right) & Isabelle (left)

Smartaupairs

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Sunday 14th May 2017 : The BAPAA Au Pair River Cruise Event

Last Sunday, the annual BAPAA River Cruise event was THE place to be (for an au pair at least)  😉

Starting at 11 am, approximately 300 au pairs were present ( Thank you so much for coming!). It was a great opportunity for au pairs to meet new friends who are going through the same experience as they are. So many different nationalities were present: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Australian …

Furthermore we had the chance to see historic landmarks throughout our journey : The House of Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, the London Bridge, … As one of the crew member was giving us crucial details about popular places around the river.

Waving at by-passers on boats and on bridges, we finally arrived at Greenwich where a lot of au pairs visited the market, went to pubs, …

We sat on the grass, talking to each other, discovering each others culture and experience. It was really nice, some exchanged their best tips on how to be a good au pair (even if their is no guide for that).

After spending the afternoon in the park, we finally went back to the boat and returned to where our journey begun. 

It was such a special day for us, we are grateful that so many au pairs came and had a great experience.

If you couldn’t come it’s okay there will always be other events!!

I hope you had a great experience during the event and hope to see you at the next BAPAA event , or simply at the next Smartaupairs event!

Smartaupairs is always trying to get it right for families and au pairs! 🙂

Best Wishes

Isabelle (left) & Aurelie (right)

Smartaupairs

Recent Smartaupairs Meetups -The Boat Race and the Oxford Trip

It’s been so busy we have not yet had the chance to post these pics, better later than never!

In April, we joined the famous Boat race Oxford against Cambridge in London. It is a typical English event where the two large universities compete.

The weather was lovely, it almost felt like summer. We were sitting in a park next to the river and watched the race either on the big screen or live.  The atmosphere was amazing! 😊 There were so many people having picnic, drinks and cheering their team.

Three weeks later we travelled to Oxford together. We joined a free walking tour, which was amazing. The guide showed us the most beautiful and famous buildings and provided us with stories of the city.

In the afternoon, we did Punting. It is a very typical activity where three people are sitting in a punting boat and one person tries to push it forward with a large stick. It is definitely more difficult than it looks 😃

We would say we’ve had two successful days 😉

Thanks to everyone who joined us! :*

Isabelle (Smartaupairs)

Smartaupair of the Year 2016-7- Kirby from AUSTRALIA!!

Each year, we select one of our au pairs (based on host family nominations) to win the lovely Smartaupairs of the Year title. With a little bit of a drum roll, we would like to announce that…

Smartaupair of the Year 2016-7 winner is KIRBY FROM AUSTRALIA 🙂 

A MASSIVE WELL DONE TO KIRBY!!

Kirby has been living with her host family in Kent for over a year now (and will continue for another). She will receive a £200 gift card to Boots (her chosen retailer) 🙂

Of course, in our eyes, there are SO so many equally amazing au pairs out there, doing a fantastic job – and being a great “big sister/brother” to their host children so we also wanted to take this chance to also say a big thank you to ALL au pairs (whether nominated or not) for their effort and motivation, you are all great!!!

Below you may find both the host family nomination & Kirby’s own response along with some lovely photographs of Kirby & the host family. 

AuPair of the year award nomination: Kirby 

I first met our AuPair Kirby over Skype in February.  Being a single mum with twin 4 year old boys – we have a very busy household with a lot of energy and sometimes noise! I work full time – mainly from home, but need space and quiet.  I had a clear view on the things we needed as a family – along with being one of our family, loving, caring, organised, full of energy, the ability to be a great cook and have a touch of craziness (in a good way) was a must.  Kirby’s second interview with the boys on skype wow-ed us all – she was dressed as a pirate and kept the twins captivated for over 45 minutes – which is a miracle!

We immediately felt determined that she was “the one!” and flights were booked and she arrived from Sydney in March. For someone who has had to apply for a passport for the first time, she settled with ease and started her morning “walkabout” to gain her bearings, walking more than 5 miles each morning before breakfast. The boys fell in love with her, fighting to be her best friend.  The fact that she is so much fun, full of enthusiasm for everything – even the mundane – has led them to adore her and being an expert on Super Heros has added to their delight in our new AuPair.

Life with twin boys is very difficult to imagine, but Kirby has risen to the challenge with ease.  She copes easily with any conflict: able to distract them with other things. We both work on manners and school work together and Kirby brings exciting and interesting ways of looking at things.

Kirby is full of boundless energy – which is perfect for two very spirited twin boys, she designs boot camp exercises and sports in the park, has taught them how to bake the most scrumptious cakes and biscuits, built wands to make giant bubbles in the garden and helped teach them how to swim:  no day is ever the same.  There are treasure hunts, train track building, domino trails and interesting games to play to improve the boys’ reading, writing and numeracy.  In the background, she ensures the house is running smoothly, the laundry is done and the children’s meals are delicious and highly nutritious.  She has never been anything other than happy and full of joy, a pleasure for all the family. She is caring, loving and kind: often I overhear her reading to the boys and the little discussions they have – precious memories.

The children started school in September and Kirby has seen them easily through this transition and walks to school with them daily.  They always burst through the door after home time, often delighting in telling me what they found in the hedgerows from their walk home, as much as what they did at school! Kirby has developed a great rapport with the teachers and handles dropping each twin into their own class with the right books, gloves, hats, and so on – with ease. She never needs asking, floors get mopped, laundry gets done and the salads are chopped and in the fridge – it is as though she reads my mind.

Meanwhile, I have made a dear friend; she is like an older daughter to me.  Kirby and I will cook together – both with a love of cooking and healthy food, we have the same tastes in movies too and when the children are sleeping, we have made our way through quite a few films.  Kirby has joined us on our summer holiday and spent time in the French countryside with my parents and the boys.

Christmas this year saw a bout of tummy bug for the family including grandparents, and Kirby maintained her happy and energetic self, amongst the washing and Dettol, she ensured the boys had a fabulous Christmas despite it all and helped us all enjoy the break between Christmas and New Year. Santa even delivered her a special sack of presents – as she was on the good list too!

This year – both Kirby and I have signed up for the London Marathon to run for a charity; the long run training will doubtless require friends to step in and help with childcare, but we are working around each other to fit in our training plans.  It will be an amazing experience and one we both will never forget.  Her mother and Aunt have already visited this year – so this time – her brother and father shall be visiting, which will make our day all the more wonderful.

Kirby is truly one of the family here, the boys adore her and I don’t know what we will do when it is her time to return to Australia.  She has been such a positive influence on all of us, including me – we really hit the jackpot when we interviewed that pirate on Skype all those months ago.

Kind Regards

Claire

Kirby’s response – bound to make you smile!!  

We love her down to earth honest approach – let’s face it, there are days which are harder than others, all part of life!

Honestly, where do I even BEGIN..

I guess from the first night I talked to Claire and the boys over Skype – my initial thought being ‘Man, what have I gotten myself into! I hope I can match their awesome level of crazy…’

Ha! That thought was immediately wiped away when I met them in person…these were definitely my people.

I touched down in Jolly old England. Ahhh, I remember it well – my main thought being ‘Damn! 9 degrees! That’s nearly snow temperature! HA! Wasn’t I an idiot. Skip past a short car trip back to my new home of two years…and as soon as I stepped through the door and laid spread eagled on the sofa, I knew this wouldn’t be JUST a house to live in, but a mighty fine home.

As the weeks passed, what I first thought were going to be two, little, golden-haired gremlins, turned out to be two of the coolest little guys I’ve ever looked after, and it has been my pleasure to look after them. Of course we have the odd ‘GAH, YOU’RE DRIVING ME ABSOLUTELY NUTS!’ moments, but come on, what family doesn’t. And that’s what they have become to me. I’ve seen William and Alex go through the transition from ‘little school’ to primary school and it has been AMAZING seeing how much they’ve matured into top little gentlemen. I’ll ask them about their day, what they had for lunch, that seems to be their favourite part, and mostly the big question of ‘Ooooo, who’s your girlfriiiiend?’. I feel that not only will any future girlfriends have to go through Claire, but they will definitely have to pass the ‘Kirby test of awesomeness’, because there is no doubt, that in 20 years time, i’ll STILL be in constant contact with my England family.

Ahhhh, and Claire, what can I say about Claire, she is an absolute stunning human being, with a deadset pistol of a personality. She can make me laugh, fire me up when I’m feeling sluggish and always has a good story for me. The amount of times it’s felt like we have been on the same brainwave is insane, it’s as if she can tell what I’m thinking and I can tell what she’s thinking, whether it’s about what to have for dinner, what TV show to watch, what activity to do with the boys and even the occasional ‘ahhh, does your butt hurt from running today, as well?’

This year was my first year away during the Christmas period, and yes, my mother in Australia made very sure that I was at least a little bit homesick…BUT, that was short lived after waking up to my own personalised Santa sack filled with everything screaming Tangerine (inside joke) and watching the boys excitement as they opened their own presents…of course the real kicker was drinking Buck’s Fizz in the kitchen with Claire and laughing about anything and everything, while preparing my first ever British Christmas lunch. It was an amazing memory I’ll never forget, with a family I’ll never forget, Claire really is MUCH more than just a host, she has been my family while I’ve been here, and I’m sure I’ve been like family to her.

Now up to date in the household, we’ve just welcomed a puppy called Narla, she is REALLY testing all of us at the moment, but I have no doubts that we can handle anything now. I am very keen to see what this last year brings, but I’m also very sad that I only have one year left with this absolute goldmine of a family, I’m so glad I picked this family and would do it again a million times over 🙂