Saturday 24th June 2017- Urban Food Fest

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Thank you to all the au pairs who got together at Urban food fest in Shoreditch! !  One of the many events organized by smartaupairs ❤ They were all so nice!

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We all gathered at Allen Gardens at 3.30 pm. We had different activities in the park to get to know one another. After spending an hour in the park we decided to go to the Urban food fest which is located in Shoreditch. The au pair had different nationalities: Dutch, German, Spanish and French. We even met someone that travelled to 5 different continents. 🙂

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When we arrived at the Food Fest, we had so many choices that we didn’t know what to eat: pizza, falafel wrap, fried chicken wrap, bubble waffle, burritos, organic food… Some cocktails were even served in jars.

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We talked all afternoon seated around a wood table,  talking about the different problems au pairs can go through during their stay, what they like about their placement, but also about cultural differences… So many different topics. Some au pairs are going back home soon – in less then one month and they were quite sad to finish their placement as becoming an au pair is such a beautiful experience.

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The good part is, all the au pairs made new friends. They discovered some common points and shared their life with each other.

We did not leave the Urban food fest until 8.00 pm showing how much fun we had just talking together.

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It was a beautiful experience to meet new people but also a beautiful culinary experience. If you have the time you should definitely go with your au pair friends, it is open every Saturday! – Or you can just join us for our next event. 🙂

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

Hope to see you at our next event so we can all have fun together 😀

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Blog article by Isabelle (Left) and Aurelie (Right)

Smartaupairs

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.

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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

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 🙂

 

Smartaupairs Au Pair Survey Results & Testimonials 2017

We recently did a survey with our au pairs – here is some of their
feedback 🙂 

LeonieSmartaupairs gave me the best match of family you could have! I’m so happy with my family and the support from Smartaupairs!”
Leonie from Germany
 

I‘m glad Smartaupairs was my agency in the UK. I felt fully informed, the guide was very eliza1helpful! I spent the best summer in London with an amazing host family. Thank you! x”
Eliza from Poland

“I am really happy with mariella1the way Smartaupairs is looking after me. I feel like I could email or call them anytime if I were not getting along with my host family. Luckily I am very happy with the family I work for and live with”
Mariella from Germany

“Keep up the good work and giving us all the informajenny1tion we need. I’m really glad that my year will be a good one because of Smartaupairs.”
Jenny from Germany

Great team! Really helping with problems etc! Such a good experience that I went for a second time 🙂
Britt from the Netherlands

“It was really easy to find the perfect larissa1host family with Smartaupairs. You had great matches.  Thank you very much!”
Larissa from Germany

 

Comments on our team: 

“Robyn Smith – She always got back to me , very helpful and great at being in touch”

Tuuli – when I had to leave the family because they were awful. Tuuli was very helpful and caring”

“I was in contact with Sandra, she is really nice and she did her job pretty well.” 

“I have been in contact with Gladys Ngadao. She has been really nice and helpful, when i needed some help.”

“I’ve had a lot of contact with Veerle (which was nice because I’m Dutch as well) :)”

“Salla contacted me several times making sure I am feeling good and everything is working out right. She helped me looking for a language school as well. She is a really kind and friendly person! Thanks so much for all your support!!”“I was in contact with different people and they were all super nice and helpful! :)”

“I have been in contact with Tuuli most of the time. She has been an amazing help!”

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The below questions asked whether the au pairs felt they could easily contact us for help during their placement, whether overall they were happy with their choice of agency (Smartaupairs or sending agency abroad), and whether they felt the overall communication was sufficient.

It is important for us to ensure we are approachable for our au pairs and tailor our support based on our au pair feedback.
support
We work with top agencies abroad who supply au pairs excellent support material already at the very early stages of their application, In addition, Smartaupairs provides the au pairs an extensive au pair guide & au pair listings and lots of other tips for connecting with other au pairs
The above question addresses how prepared the au pairs felt ahead/during their au pair experience.
preparation
Other interesting stats:

studying

This statistic is perhaps a little surprising – there seems to be a near 50-50 division between those who do/do not attend a language course.

friends

Other means of finding friends which were mentioned were: meetup.com, family & previous au pair recommendations, language classes, excuses to meet app, smartaupairs own meetups & local au pair pub evenings for example.

We did also gather a list of recommended language classes which is issued directly to all confirmed au pairs along with our other support material 🙂

Welcoming Tamara to Smartaupairs

We are really pleased to welcome Tamara to the Smartaupairs team as our intern!

Tamara has been an au pair in the UK herself and therefore knows exactly what it is like from the au pair’s point of view.

She will be assisting our team in au pair support and will be there to offer advice and guidance to au pairs throughout their application process and placement. She will also be helping to organise some upcoming events!

Tamara is a native German speaker and also speaks Italian and English.

Here is her message to all of our au pairs:

Hi 

My Name is Tamara, I’m 24 years old and I’m from Austria. I have studied International Cultural and Business Studies in Passau, Germany. Before I went to university I have been an au pair myself. I have spent an amazing year in the UK living with a host family in Oxfordshire.

I’m really happy to be back in the UK and I’ll do my very best to help all of YOU current au pairs to make the most of your stay!

tamara