BAPAA Au Pair River Cruise

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Come and join 100’s of other BAPAA au pairs on a private boat trip to Greenwich. You will travel past famous bridges and historic buildings along the river from Central London, with exciting views of Westminster including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, and then head downstream through the City to the Thames Barrier, Greenwich and back again.

At Greenwich you will have time to have a look around – there are lively markets, restaurants, historic buildings, the famous Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory and Meridian Line, the Maritime Museum and a beautiful park with wonderful views over London.  Bring a picnic or buy lunch in Greenwich.

Schedule for the Day

10.45am – Boat leaves Festival Pier

1pm – Boat arrives at Greenwich

4pm – Boat leaves Greenwich

5pm – Boat arrives back at Festival Pier

You must arrive by 10.30 am as the boat leaves promptly at 10.45am from Festival Pier, in front of The Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.  (The opposite side of the river to Embankment tube.)

Nearest tube station: Waterloo or Embankment.  Nearest mainline train station: Waterloo.

How to Book?

The trip costs £10 per person for BAPAA au pairs and £12 for friends travelling with them (non-BAPAA).

Please contact Smartaupairs to reserve your space & to pay for the ticket(s).

If you wish to stay in London for the night, hostel accommodation may be available through International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1. (www.ish.org.uk)

Photos/videos taken during the day may be used for BAPAA promotional purposes in future.

Janie Joins Smartaupairs

Janie has joined us for a 3 month internship in our Kent office.

We hope this will be a valuable learning experience for her!:)

She will be helping with our au pairs and events in particular. Welcome Janie!

Here, she writes a little bit about herself:

“Hi, I’m Janie from France, 23 years old. I got my master’s degree in marketing last year. After that, I learned for three months in an English school in Manchester. It was really the best experience of my life. Living in England and meeting everyday new people they come from all around the world was completely amazing. I am so happy to be here now for three months and I’ll try to give the best of myself helping new aupairs with this new and exciting challenge!”

Janie

Au Pairs Nominate Their Host Mums in Smartaupairs Mother’s Day Special

Hamper

Mother’s day is a great chance to say thank you to all our lovely mums!

This year, we continued our tradition of asking au pairs to nominate their host mums in our Mother’s Day competition. In the nomination, we simply asked au pairs why their host mum is special/why they should win the above Waitrose mother’s day hamper.  The winning entry this year was submitted by Mikaela, an Australian au pair currently placed with a host family in London. 

The winner was chosen by a vote in which all our au pairs could take part.

We did not want to publish this until after Mother’s Day to keep the prize (and the runner up thank you cards) as a surprise :) 

Here is what Mikaela said about her host mum:

Nicola is a part time cook, teacher, carer, superwoman, nurse, comedian, writer, business woman, councillor and a full time mum! 

From first day I arrived she welcomed me with open arms and made me feel right at home. She goes above and beyond what a mother should do, not only for her own son but for me as well! She is always on the go, taking us out to things and making sure we have a great time. Even if she is having a bad day she won’t let it effect her mood and keeps up a happy, encouraging attitude AND energy to run around with a 2 year old. 

I would love her to receive this mothers day gift, just as a little thank you for all the hard work that she does. Hopefully she’ll be able to use this gift to relax a bit before baby no. 2 arrives! 

So here’s a massive thank you and happy mothers day to my beautiful English Mumma! 

Mikaela xx”

Runners Up:

Letter by Laura for her host mum Rachel (Kent)

“When I saw the post about Mother’s day, I knew straight away that my host mum, was the exact right person to get this special treat! Since my first day here, she has made sure I always felt welcome and a part of the family, and definitely made sure that I never felt left out. She has introduced me to their family members, but also to friends of the family. My host mum has been an absolute delight to work for, and problems have never occurred between the two of us. She has always reached out with a helping hand, and given me very useful advice when needed. I think my host mum, Rachel, deserves this, because she is such a hard working, loving mother to both of her children and I really admire her! She has taught me that even though you have a busy life, packed with work, there will always be time to smile! I know she appreciates my work in the house and with the kids, and now I want to tell her how much I appreciate, all of the things she does and has done for me, too. She wrote me an absolutely fantastic reference for my UNI application (which made my dad cry, when he read it… a bit embarrassing I know, haha!), and for that I am ever so grateful. It’s time to give back, and therefore I think Rachel deserves this for being the perfect host mum, who is actually also a very lovely friend of mine now, and even though I’ll leave in six months time, I’m sure our friendship will last! Rachel has definitely been a big part of making my two years as an au pair, as wonderful as they have been!

I am so grateful for all of the time we’ve spend together, and hope we have many more good times coming in the future. Thank you so, so much, Rachel! 

-Laura xx”

Nomination by Nele for her host mum Tanja (London)

“To describe my hostmum in three words: helpful, considerately, amicable. I would be so glad if you could send the waitrose Hamper to my lovely hostmum. Tanja is the best hostmum I could ever imagine!
She makes me feel like home, helps me in every Situation and is still there for me. She organises lots of things for me, even if it’s difficult like finding the best language school.
I want to say Thank you to her for all the things she had done in that short time.
I can imagine that it’s difficult to manage everything especially when you are pregnant. Whereas I was totally frustated about finding no Language school, she still went on searching the right one.
Abig thank you to her!
Nele x

Nomination by Anne for her host mum Joanne (Halifax)

My lovely host mum J is the best host mum in the world for me. She picked me up from the airport, she prepared me a lovely and cosy room, she showed me where to go shopping and she introduced me to family, friends and teachers. But there’s more to it: J and I spend time together cooking or baking, sometimes we are just talking. It’s J whom I go to whenever I need an advice, an opinion or some help and she gladly gives it to me.
My host mum trusts me and she says that she knows that I will do my work very well without her asking for it. She is always very kind to me, she asks my very politely when she would like me to do something and she is very grateful when I do. She appreciates what I do for her as much as I appreciate her taking care of me. J makes me feel like I am actually part of her family. She always gives me choices, e.g. whether to spend the evening with the family or on my own.
I can’t put into words what she has done for me to make me feel welcome and at home in her house. Even though I am J’s first Au Pair and it was a big change of her life to have me living in her house, she is doing everything to help and support me. It doesn’t really matter if my host mum wins this competition. Because to me, she is simply the best host mum and the best friend I could have asked for. That’s what I’ll tell her on Mother’s Day because I have not had a proper chance to tell her how much it means to me to be a part of her family.
I hope we will have a lovely time together but I know we will and I know that it will be too short in the end!
Take care, Anne:-)

Nomination by Julia for her host mum Gemma (London)

I love the idea of the mother’s day hamper and that you can nominate your host mums to win it. While I was writing the nomination more and more things came to my mind, why I have the perfect host mum and I hope my nomination is not too long😉

I want to nominate my host mum Gemma. She is such a lovely and kind person and I couldn’t think of a better host mum! Even if she is really busy with her job and other things to organise, she has always an open ear for me. When I first read the letter she wrote in her Au-Pair profile I knew that I really want to live in that family and that I want to have her as a host mum. After our first Skype call I didn’t even wanted to have conversations with other potential families. We started writing e-mails really often and when she told me that they want me as an au-pair I was the happiest person on earth. Unfortunately their old Au-Pair had to go back to Germany two months earlier so they needed someone immediately and I still had exams to write, so I couldn’t start earlier.

 I was really sad but she said that she really want to meet me in London for a cup of coffee and wished me luck for my family search. We still wrote a lot of e-mails with each other and we both were so sad that I couldn’t be their Au-pair. After a week she mailed me again that she found a solution and I could actually come.

I was so excited in the first place and when the day actually came and I stood in front of her house she welcomed me with a big hug and a self-made chocolate cake, because she knew I loved chocolate. Even if she says herself that she is not good at baking, it was the most amazing chocolate cake I’ve ever had (it looked really funny but the taste was amazing😉 ).

She asked her first Au-Pair Veronika to come over to London after my arriving, so she can show me everything. Veronika helped me with the girls in the holidays and how to use the tube and bus. It helped me so much to integrate in the family and to bond with the girls and I am so thankful that my host mum organised this for me because I think a lot of Au-Pairs were a bit lost in their first weeks in London.

After 7 months here I can say that I am so so glad that Gemma is my host mum because she makes me feel that I have a second home here in London. Not only that she asks me every time before shopping if there is something missing I want to eat, she also agreed that my boyfriend could stay here two times and she offered my friend a place to sleep here with the argument “I want to make you feel like home here”.  When I wanted to fly home on my birthday or when I booked other flights home she always offered me free days or that she can change workdays for me which is really nice.
I can talk with her about everything not only about the day with the children, also about personal things or gossip. I think she really deserves this hamper because she is always so busy but she always makes time for her children or for me and she treats me like a family member and makes me feel like home here every day.

Julia X

Nomination by Torii for her host mum Rebecca (London)

I would like to nominate my host Mum, Rebecca simply because she is amazing.
Since the moment I arrived in London she has been so kind, supportive and helpful to me. She has been a shoulder to cry on when I’ve missed home, many times and a friend to laugh with. Rebecca has welcomed me into her family with open arms and I honestly feel like I am apart of her family now, (I don’t know how I am ever going to leave) it really feels like my second home. Thanks to her and the rest of my host family my first  year in London has been incredible.  She has shown me around London and other parts of the U.K. (Eg. The New Forest and Isle of Wight). When I first got to London she was always ready to answer the phone to me saying, “I’m lost again, HELP!” Even after drawing me a map and going through the directions a million times. Thanks to her my eyes have been opened to plenty more romcoms (films) and great music that we usually karaoke to in the kitchen. I always feels like my work and my ideas are appreciated.b
I could go on forever about why my host mum is so deserving of the Mother’s Day gift but I think you can see how great she is by now.
Thank you for the opportunity to show Rebecca she is not only a wonderful, loving mother to her two boys but to me as well. I couldn’t  be more grateful to her. I have the best host mum ever.
Torii xxx

Nomination by Lotte for her host mum Nadia  (London)

When I read about the mothersday competition, I wanted to join immediately, because I think my hostmum definitely deserves a special ‘thank you’. Already before the date I would fly to England, I was really grateful. She said these words to my ‘real’ mother in an e-mail: ‘Thanks for sharing your daughter with the family, she’s in good hands´. These words really made me relaxed in that stressy week before leaving. The first week was very exciting, but my hostmum worked from home that week. So she could show me everything and we did everything with the two of is. This was amazing, because she prepared me on the upcoming days and weeks. And when the second week started, I knew most of the things and that gave me a really confident feeling, a very good start… She really gave me the time and space to learn and accept the new things in this new life:) She’s working really hard and when she comes home there is a lot of attention to the children obviosly, but when they are sleeping I can see that she really makes time and tries to bond with me.Last week, we had another conversation about that it feels all so natural and she said te words: it’s meant to be like this Lotte’. Those words I wrote down, because it’s just beautiful that the possibility was there to find this lovely family where I’m really a part of in only 4 weeks! An happy mothersday!

X Lotte

Nomination by Erika for her host mum Harriet (Winchester)

Hi! My name is Erika.  My host mum is called Harriet. I would like to nominate her because I think that she is the best host mum you can have. She is always asking me if I got everything I need, she asks me about my free time, about my holidays, and about everything about my life, which is important when you are not in your house and you don’t have your family to to talk with. I’m lucky because she makes me feel like I’m part of the family and not only like a employee. I’ve never had any problems with her and I think that is very easy to talk with her and if I have a problem or I need and advice she is always happy helping me. These and more are the reasons that make me nominate her to the best host mum, but I don’t have enough time to Tell you about each moment that she made me feel good and comfortable in her house from the first day.

Nomination by Lisa for her host mum Puja (Surrey)

Dear Puja,

I think mother’s day is a great day to say ´Thank you´ to you for all the things you do ! I was so happy as you decided that I would be your Aupair:) For me it was a long search for a great family and I was so pleased that the family’s would be my hostfamily, you Puja – my hostmum :)As I arrived you gave me a hug:) It was such a great atmosphere from the beginning:) I know, how much you are doing for your family. You are doing your best to be a good wife, a good housewife and especially a good mother. And just for the fact youcaring for all the people around you, I want to support you and want to give you something back – even if I make you a sandwich for work because we both definitely know that you haven’t got the time for that in the morning ^^ It’s nice for me to help and it’s great to feel that you need me and that you are grateful. I am grateful to have you – Puja.

You support me as well and take care of me. As I was a little bit sad on my birthday – sure, because I didn’t celebrated it with my family -You comforted me right now:) I felt very comfortable and I knew you are now there for me while I am in England. And it feels so good to know that I am like a family member:) It is the biggest gift to give all your trust and even love to a completely new person. I appreciate it so much! I cannot imagine having a better hostmum:) Today is your day:) Let’s celebrate what you are doing for all your sweethearts around you:)

Lots of Love XXX

Lisa

Nomination by Franzi for her host mum Juliana (London)

I would like to nominate my host mum Juliana for the mothers day gift. From my first day she made me feel welcome and a part of her family. Since she’s from Brazil and studied in Germany (where I am from) the cultural exchange is really amazing. I learn a lot of things about Brazil and we sometimes speak German so she doesn’t forget it. Besides being an amazing mum she also goes to college and even when she’s stressed she always makes sure that I’m alright and she makes me feel that my work is appreciated. For me she is like a mixture of a second mum and a best friend. I know that I can go to her if I have a problem and she’s even giving me advice about what I can study after my au pair year.
She is just the best host mum ever and she really deserves a little treat and a big thank you for everything she has done and is still doing for me!!

Franzi

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Kent Au Pair Get Together Photos

Here are some photos from our last weekend’s au pair get together in Kent.

On the day we took the Kentish “River Lady” Boat to the Kent Life Hops n Harvest festival. As you can see from the photos, we were lucky to have a sunny day!:)

This is a fantastic place to visit with kids too as they have lots of animals to see!

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New Office & New Team Member – Sandra!

Smartaupairs has Moved!

We are now based in the lovely Springfield House in Kent! Our new telephone number is as follows: 0330 111 9266. Our e-mail address remains the same! With the primary e-mail being info@smartaupairs.com

Springfield House (photo credit)Springfield House

Sandra – Our New Team Member

Another bit of exciting news is that Sandra has just joined us for a half a year internship! She’ll be supporting our au pairs before and after arrival.

Sandra Smartaupairs

Here is a little introduction from her:

Hi everybody, I’m Sandra and I’ve started my internship at Smartaupairs last week and I am really looking forward to the job as the new Au Pair Supporter.

Currently I’m studying Sociology in Germany Dresden. I really enjoy going to University and read all the stuff which is necessary. It makes me think about me, my family/friends and the whole society. It’s very interesting to learn about connections in people’s life and see them in my own environment.

When I’m not studying and reading I love spending my time with other people and cook with them. That’s why I live together with five other people =) I enjoy spending my time outside while training myself on a slackline, go hiking or just relaxing in the sun.

A few years ago I worked as an Au Pair in Ireland. So I’m sure I can be good help for others sharing my experiences and give some useful advices. As well I am a trainer for volunteers in the social sector so I already know how to help young people with their first steps in an independent life.

Again, welcome Sandra:)

(photo credit: Springfield House)

Noemi – Smartaupair of the Year 2014-5

A HUGE congratulations to Noemi – Smartaupair of the year 2014-5 winner! Noemi is from Germany (born in Spain) and she joined her family Raad in September 2014.

Smartaupair of the Year
Noemi & Her Host family 

What is the Smartaupair of the Year Award?

We wanted to give our host families the chance to say “thank you” and to formally recognize the hard work, dedication and love we know the au pairs put in their au pair time.

In the end we received SO many lovely nominations and all runners up also received little thank you notes from our team. In addition to the certificate, Noemi also received a £200 gift card for Topshop.

Finally, a word for all our au pairs – whether you were nominated or not, we just want to say that your hard work does not go unnoticed – We speak with so many happy host families every day to know that each of you make a real difference to the lives of your host families, so thank you!

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Nomination Letter from the Raad Family:

Our au pair, Noemi Litten Rubio, is far more than an au pair.  She is absolutely a member of our family that we all love.  I think our 4 year-old son, Ethan, sums it up best when he says, “Noemi is not my au pair; she is my best friend, and I hope she is always my best friend.” 

Noemi joined our family in September a few months after we located from New York to London.  We were all still struggling to adjust to life in London, and prior to our relocation we had never had an au pair or any kind of live-in support.  As a result, we were not the best at articulating our needs and expectations.  New herself to London, Noemi set out to help us adjust.  Most importantly, she took it upon herself to make sure she sought out opportunities for Ethan.  She made an effort to engage with children and parents at Ethan’s school, arranging play dates.  She thought up creative ideas designed around the school curriculum and Ethan’s interests to entertain Ethan, including designing a flower project given Ethan’s loves of the garden, teaching Ethan Spanish, arts and crafts, baking, and so much more.  (See attached photos).

She has helped Ethan’s confidence grow day by day by encouraging him to keep practicing.   When Ethan first arrived in London, he was reluctant to engage with other children, especially children he did not know.  He would wait in line at the park for all of the children to clear from the slide before he tried.  Just today, he proudly walked into a summer camp, which Noemi helped find, without knowing any other child and turned to Noemi and said, “I love you; you can go now.”  Noemi has done all of this for Ethan while still looking after us in so many ways.  She knows that I am a terrible cook, and often surprises me with dinner, especially if my husband is working late.  She shops for my favorite things, always making sure that things are refilled before I even notice.  She walks the dog (and treats her like a queen), because she knows we can use the help – not because we ever had to ask.  Really, everything Noemi does that makes her so special, is just because she is Noemi. 

We are going to miss her terribly when she heads off to school in the Fall, but she will always be our best friend as Ethan says. 

Thank you for considering Noemi for this much deserved award.

Amanda

Letter from Noemi:

My life with the Raads

It’s funny how people that were completely strangers to you, can turn into your second family in such a short time. That’s what happened to me with Ethan, Amanda, Shaun and Wrigley Raad.

I’ve been living with the Raads for less than 10 months and we went through a lot together: I cried and laughed with them, I learned a lot about their traditions, about their country, about childcare and even about myself. The amazing thing about the Raads is that they don’t treat you like staff. They let you your space and invite you to join them on days out or on special occasions. They include you in conversations that are not about Ethan, they don’t treat you like a child, they ask for your opinion about things and listen, they care about you and know when you need time alone. The Raads are funny, caring and full of love. In all this months the Raads not only helped me with my English, but also  taking hard desicions, and realising what I want and what I don’t want. They have supported me in every little thing and they never judged me. I’ve grown up so much and that’s all thank to the Raads. If there was an award for the best host family of the year, the Raads would win it every single time.

Ethan Jaxson is the cutest kid on the planet. He’s funny, sweet and adorable. When I arrived here, Ines (the previous Aupair) just left and Ethan liked her so much, that I was really worried that he would have a hard time and he would hate me, but that’s not Ethan. He played with me from day 1, was always asking me questions and loved to try new things with me. We enjoyed exploring Fulham together, going on picnics, reading books in the library, baking new recipes, trying different kinds of food, fingerpainting, having our own inside jokes that nobody else understands… It’s true that it wasn’t always easy and that we had our ups and downs, but, through it all, he’s my favorite 4-years-old boy.

When I first arrived to their home last September, I was terrified. The driver that had brough me from the airport left me in front of the door with my suitcases and I was so nervous that I thought I was going to throw up. Now the throw up feeling comes back everytime I think that in a few weeks I’ll be going home and leaving the Raads.

Noemi Litten Rubio

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