Top Ten Meals to Cook for your Host Children

Au pairs are often asked to assist their host family in cooking an evening meal for the children. Basic cooking skills can be expected but we recommend that families put some time aside at the beginning of the placement to go through a few of the children’s favourite recipes with the au pair to make sure they have got the hang of it.

We asked our au pairs what evening meals go down best in their household. Here are the top ten responses!

“My host children love cooking. Together we make a great spaghetti bolognese. Italian food is their favourite” – Mathilde, French, au pair in London

Pasta and pesto with sausages. Really simple to make and tastes really good”Elin, Swedish, au pair in Hertfordshire

Jacket Potato with Baked Beans & Cheese is easy to make and my host kids loved it”Tamara, Austrian, former au pair in Oxfordshire

Gemma, a Spanish au pair in Surrey sent us this photo of a quiche that her host children enjoyed:

cooking-blog-photo

 

“My kids love pasta with mushroom sauce, homemade pizza, fish gratin with vegetables and also chilli (with a twist):

Cinnamon Chilli

  • 500g mince
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  1. Fry the garlic and onion and add the mince until it’s done
  2. Add tomatoes and cinnamon and season with salt & pepper (and other spices if you want to)
  3. Simmer for at least 30 minutes (but longer is better)
  4. Add the beans about 30 minutes before serving
  5. Serve with bread, rice or a jacket potato (and maybe some natural yoghurt and guacamole)”

Carina, German, au pair in Kent

 “We like to cook fajitas on Friday nights. We cook the chicken with peppers, onions and spices and then serve with lots of little dishes of grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lettuce and tomatoes” – Diana, Italian, au pair in Surrey

“A really simple meal is pasta bake. I make a tuna and sweetcorn one with melted cheese on top and the boys always eat it all!” – Maartje, Dutch, au pair in London

“When we have enough time in the evening, we make pizzas together. The kids like to get involved. We use tomato puree on the base and choose from toppings including chicken, peppers, onion, mushroom, ham, pepperoni and cheese”Hannah, Australian, au pair in London

 
“My kids love roasts and it’s actually quite easy to prepare it just takes some time. My host dad told me the trick to put a ‘butter paper’ (the paper that the Butter is wrapped in when you buy it) on Top of the chicken. This keeps the chicken juicy and prevents the Skin from getting burned. You put the chicken in the oven for about two hours. About 30 min before you take the chicken out, you take off the paper, so the skin can crisp up. 
You can also put some whole potatoes on the tray with the chicken so you get baked potatoes. Or you Cut them in wedges, in half, … But they need less time than the chicken itself, so you need to time it right 🙂
You can use any vegetable your kids like. My host children’s favourites are runner beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower… I simply boil these or just roast them as well. (Sliced and roasted carrots and parsnip are great).
I serve the food with gravy which I make from granules 🙂 “
Alina, German, au pair in Hampshire

“Today I made a cheesy cauliflower and pasta bake for the second time and the girls loved it”Laura, German, au pair in Surrey

We have lots more ideas for simple meals on our Pinterest page and in our Au Pair Guide which is sent to all Smartaupairs prior to travel.

Happy Cooking!

Our Top 5 Tips for Finding Au Pair Friends in the UK

Welcome to all au pairs who joined their host family in January! 🙂

An important part of settling in is finding friends in your area. Here are our top 5 tips on how to find friends in the UK.

  1. Join the Smartaupairs Facebook group

Our Facebook group is the perfect place to meet other au pairs in the UK. Au pairs often post here when they first arrive to say ‘hello’ and to find out who is living close to them. Plenty of au pairs are looking for friends here, whether they would like some company on a weekend trip overseas or are looking for someone to meet for coffee. Only au pairs placed through Smartaupairs are accepted into the group, so you can be sure of who you are speaking with.

  1. Use our ‘County Lists’ to find the au pairs who live closest to you

We email the relevant list(s) to au pairs upon confirmation of their placement. You can always access them through the Facebook group too, where they are regularly updated. You will be able to see the au pairs who live closest to you and make contact with them via email.

  1. Join aupairfriends.com

This is a great website, which all au pairs placed through a BAPAA agency have access to. Therefore, if you are living in a slightly more rural location with fewer au pairs around, this could be a valuable resource for you. Register using our agency password.

  1. Download the Excuses to Meet app

Excuses to Meet have recently launched this app, designed to make finding au pair friends much more convenient for you.

Again, you will need our agency password to register with the BAPAA au pairs group (please request this from our team – it does change from time to time due to security). There is also a wider au pair community which is available for all au pairs!

  1. Attend a Smartaupairs event

We regularly hold events for au pairs and you are invited to every one! These range from the big events such as an Introduction Day in September and Boat Trip on the Thames in May with other BAPAA agencies, to the smaller events, e.g. coffee mornings, a day trip to Canterbury, a picnic in one of the big London parks. Below you can see some photos from our recent events!

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Smartaupairs Does Santa Dash

Have you ever witnessed this many Santa’s in one place? Nor had we… 🙂

Tuuli, Chloe and Luisa (one of our brave au pairs!) took part in the London Santa Dash run yesterday – organised by the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Luisa ran the 5k, and Tuuli and Chloe braved the full 10k stretch.

Luisa had her own support crew of other au pairs to cheer her on! 🙂

Despite the freezing temperatures, nearly 3000 runners took part, all dressed in Santa or other Christmas outfits (reindeers, elves, sledges were also spotted..)

It was such a wonderful event for an even greater cause.

To donate to the Great Ormond Street Hospital – please follow this link: https://donate.gosh.org/

National Nursery Rhyme Week

This week is National Nursery Rhyme Week and a few au pairs wanted to share some rhymes from their native language.

Here are their contributions with an English translation – a great opportunity for you to learn a rhyme in another language!

If you would like to learn more nursery rhymes in English, the BBC has put together a great collection that you can find here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/schoolradio/subjects/earlylearning/nurserysongs.

german-2

Jaqueline, Ilford, Essexdutch

Evelien, Redhill, Surreyspanish

Gemma, Redhill, Surrey

french

Celine, London

german

Lisa, Maidstone, Kent

Bring on the rest of my adventure!

My name is Sarah, I am 18 from Australia.

My adventure started when I received my results at the end of year 11 and I decided that I wanted to have a gap year.  I have had a fascination with London and England/ Europe for quite a while so this was my chance to live my dream!

Forms and information was all sent in and my parents believed that I was actually serious on wanting to move across the world to London. So when I received a profile from a family in Leeds I was a bit divided, where they seemed to be a lovely family, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live so far from London.

How I was wrong.

1

I have been so lucky to have been blessed with the most amazing host family. The children are wonderful and my host parents are amazing and have made me feel at home, a month in and I feel like I am part of the family, which I felt from day one!

The day I was leaving came by way too quick for mine and my families liking. I am very close with all my family so saying goodbye to everyone at the airport was really hard. Thirty hours later I arrived at Manchester airport to be greeted by my host Dad, and we drove back to Leeds, and after meeting my host Mum we walked to the kid’s school to pick them up. When Hannah (Host Mum) and I walked into Lucy’s (5) classroom everyone, even the teacher, was excited to see me, apparently that is all they had been hearing about all day!

2

To begin with, jetlag and getting lost were the biggest things on my mind. I was so worried I would get lost, or not be able to sleep for two weeks.  Having moved across the world, I was now eleven hours behind the time I was used to, so at about 4-5pm I would started getting really tired and explaining this to a 5 year old was a bit difficult but Oliver (9), completely understood, he would work out what time it was in Australia, so we could explain to Lucy that my body is thinking that it should be asleep right now or just waking up.

I have only gotten lost on one occasion in the city which is fabulous! Google maps and widespread free WIFI helps with this a lot!!

To be honest I haven’t missed home all that much so far. I have had a few days where I have shed a few tears and said I wanted to go home after the Skype has not worked or my parents haven’t answered my calls. But I think that I am extremely lucky to be travelling in a world that I can sit on a computer in a café or at home and be able to talk to my parents through the internet. I use apps such as Viber and Skype which are both fabulous!

I love to travel around and explore, which I am now starting to do a lot more of! I love the history of all the places and I love London, especially as I have some close friends who live there!

3

There isn’t much I would change about my experience so far. I would love to make more friends and be able to travel around the UK more, but I have heaps of time left to do that! I love my job, the people and the kids! My host family are very relaxed and easy going which makes it heaps easier for me!
Bring on the rest of my adventure, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

Sarah 🙂

Photo Competition Winner Announced!

The annual Smartaupairs photo competition was opened at the end of May, when many au pairs joined us for the BAPAA Boat Trip.

Since then, we have received a number of lovely photos and it’s been really difficult to choose a winner! Finally, we selected Marlijn from the Netherlands who will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

Marlijn Wibbelink

Here’s what Marlijn said about her photo:

We are 5 Dutch girls and on 27th April we celebrate ‘Koningsdag’ (Kingsday) in The Netherlands and this is a BIG event. This used to be ‘Koninginnedag’ (Queensday) but when our queen abdicated we changed it. We had to miss this huge event in the Netherlands but luckily the Dutch people weren’t forgotten in The UK so we had a great night ! We even went in the tube like this, a lot of English people were looking like : ‘what is this’ haha ! We had a lot of fun 🙂

Thank you to everyone who sent a photo to us – here are some more of our favourites!

Annual Au Pair River Cruise – Book NOW!

The date for the annual Au Pair River Cruise has been announced! Every year, Smartaupairs invites all au pairs who are placed with one of our host families to join us for the event. It’s extremely popular so we recommend booking your place as soon as possible!

Thames River Cruise

Sunday 17th May 2015

All day excursion from just £10 per person

Come and join hundreds 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 many 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, historic buildings, the famous 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.

  • 11am – boat leaves Festival Pier
  • 1pm – boat arrives at Greenwich
  • 4pm – boat leaves Greenwich
  • 5pm – boat arrives back at Festival Pier

The trip costs £10 per person or £12 for friends (non-BAPAA)

You must arrive by 10.45am as the boat leaves promptly at 11am from Festival Pier, in front of The Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. (Opposite side of the river to Embankment tube.)

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

If you wish to stay in London for the night of Saturday 16th May, hostel accommodation is available through International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1. (www.ish.org.uk) Telephone 020 7631 8310, quoting BAPAA.

Britt Boat Trip
Au Pair Britt won our photo competition in 2014. This is her entry taken in Greenwich Park.

Payment details: You can pay via PayPal (even if you don’t have a PayPal account) – go to www.paypal.co.uk and make the payment to finance@bapaa.org.uk. You must include your FULL name, the name of your agency in the UK (Smartaupairs) and your host family, plus the names of any friends going on the trip with you (stating BAPAA or non-BAPAA). You must print off the PayPal receipt or ticket and bring it with you on the day, as you will need to show it when you board the boat (tickets displayed on smartphones will not be accepted)! You must pay in advance for your ticket and refunds are not given.

Smartaupairs will be running a photo competition so REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR CAMERA!

Entries are to be emailed to aupairs@smartaupairs.com by 29th May 2015 and the winner will receive a £20 Amazon voucher. Click here to see some of last year’s entries.

Smartaupairs reserves the right to use any images from the boat trip for the purpose of future promotions.

Any questions? Please e-mail aupairs@smartaupairs.com