A first UK Scott Dunn Explorers Kids club has arrived at Gleneagles, home to an 850-acre playground set in teh rolling Ochil Hills. Launching on 1st August, the action-packed programme will offer wee ones from 4 months up to those in their mid-teens a brilliant range of activities and country pursuits in the great outdoors – the ultimate active summer staycation for all the family.
Deep in the Hampshire countryside, you’ll find a green oasis of luxuriously appointed safari tents. It’s a safe wonderland for kids to explore, with eggs to collect daily and farm tours by the owners. Plus you can feast on homegrown produce cooked on your BBQ each day.
Not far from Cornwall Airport Newquay, the culinary delights of Padstow and and the botanic wonders of the Eden Project, these timelessly stylish boutique-barns have a contemporary and globally luxurious sophistication, blending architectural design and new interiors styling. Perfect for a mini-break or extended holiday.
You’ll have to get in quick to bag some nights away at one of The Pig’s gorgeous hotels. An eighth luxuriously appointed residence opens at the end of July with The Pig at Harlyn Bay near Padstow. July is almost fully booked and August is getting busy!
If space and tranquillity are what you’re after, Coworth Park’s reopening will be music to your ears. Stunning interiors, delicious food and even polo lessons on the menu. And for kids, there’s a whole house with seven rooms dedicated to younger family members plus a den for teens.
Small changes made to our lifestyles make a big difference to climate change and going green. Sophie Clowes investigates how we can all become more Greta.
Kids are so wise these days. Going green and climate change has been a ‘thing’ for decades but it took a teenager to call it a crisis and get the world to listen. When 15-year-old Greta Thunberg staged a school strike over climate change, she taught the world many things, not least that the accumulation of small acts can make a big difference. “Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.”
(c) Instagram: Greta Thunberg
This was Greta’s closing line of her impassioned TED talk on climate change in 2018. And at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, in her famous “our house is on fire” speech, she opined, ‘The main solution is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.”
There is much to be done if we are to put planet before profit. While the outlook is depressing, our efforts to redress the balance don’t need to be. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are under 10 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. We must act now!
Where and how do we start going green? By taking our children’s lead and implementing small changes in everything from food to fashion, toiletries to transport. As Greta said, “The science is clear and all we children are doing is acting on that united science.”
Every company should use the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) as their basis for greater sustainability and equality. The 17 SDGs address global challenges relating to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. If everyone works together, we can begin to make a real and positive difference. Here are some ideas.
Going green: general
Choose to walk, run or cycle. Or use public transport. Or, if you must, car share
Reduce air travel
Use reusable bags, water bottles and coffee cups
Take plastic bags to supermarket recycling points – used responsibly, plastic bags can be recycled and reused many times over
Turn off unnecessary lights
Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
Change to a green energy supplier
Collect rainwater for the garden
Use your local library
Set washing machines to the lowest temperature
Buy washing powder in boxes
Line dry laundry
Buy bamboo loo roll. Try Don’t Give A Crap
Buy your soap, shampoo and conditioner in bar form
Use a glass bottle for washing-up liquid bought in bulk
Grow your own herbs
Return take-away plastic containers or take your own dishes
Repurpose old cans and candles as vases, tealight holders or pen pots
Fill your house with plants to purify the air and increase happiness
If threads are your thing, you are in luck: sustainability and going green is the height of fashion and it’s a trend that is here to stay. The obvious suggestion is to refrain from buying new but, if you must, there is choice, from Gabriella Hearst’s ‘honest luxury’, to the admirable efforts being made by the likes of H&M and & Other Stories.
We have to consider all the links in the chain, from eco materials to ethical factory practices, from compostable components to sustainable packaging and transport.
Miranda Dunn, whose eponymous label makes vegan fur coats and sustainable dresses, suggests you should wear any item at least 30 times. Stylist Kat Farmer, @doesmybumlook40, reckons you should be able to think of at least three occasions and three different outfits to go with it to justify a purchase. While author Daisy Buchanan, @thedaisybee, celebrates, “rented splendour, vintage treasures, charity shop rummaging and finding new ways to shop the old”.
Head to The Frugality site for stylist Alexandra Stedman’s words of wisdom. Or, Emma Watson, who has partnered with @thredUP to launch their new Fashion Footprint Calculator, which will tell you the carbon impact of your wardrobe. Check out eco-age.com, from the woman who threw down the challenge of turning the red carpet green, Livia Firth. If you are interested in renting clothes, try mywardrobehq, and for secondhand purchases head online to the likes of ebay or on foot to a charity shop.
Eco eating means consuming more plant-based foods, eschewing all plastic packaging, eating locally and seasonally and preventing waste. There are lots of box schemes, such as OddBox or Abel & Cole, that support farmers and small producers, as well as food-sharing apps such as Olio, Karma and Farmdrop, which ensure no food goes to waste.
Other tips include:
Milk delivered in glass bottles by Milk&More
Taking your own receptacles and shopping in bulk stores
Repurposing water purifying charcoal tablets by keeping them in the fridge to stop it going mouldy
Ensuring your online grocery orders are delivered in paper bags. Try Ocado Zoom
We have finally woken up to the horror of tides of plastic washing through our homes. Happily, many sustainable children’s initiatives are welcome money-savers. Here’s what we have learnt:
Washable nappies are initially expensive, but many councils run schemes that help with the outlay
If you swap just one disposable for a washable every day, that’s 365 nappies not going to landfill in a year
The most eco solution is to potty-train your baby. Sit them over the loo or on a potty after every feed. If a child is out of nappies day and night by two, that’s thousands of nappies saved from landfill and a saving of, at least, £800 per child
Use bamboo plates and bowls
Trade toys and clothes with friends
Research suggests we should be talking to our children about periods from the age of eight. Period pants are an expensive initial outlay, but each pair lasts about two years and produces zero waste. Try Wuka or Flux.
Let’s fill our houses with more love, more laughter and less stuff by going green. And quickly. “Adults keep saying we owe it to young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I want you to act as if you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire, because it is.” Thank you, Greta, for raising the alarm.
The strangest summer term is drawing to a close. We’ve all learned a lot about teaching children this term so now’s the time to give thanks with our teacher gift ideas.
Lockdown has strengthened our respect for our kids’ teachers. FACT. One key learning for us all over lockdown was that they really are super. From quickly adapting to digital classrooms, hours of marking all those assignments and remaining flexible at a time of uncertainty and helping to put their students (and parents) at ease. We owe a lot to our teachers for doing all they can to give our kids the best possible experience of learning from home. So here’s the City Kids roundup of teacher gift ideas which you could also access to give yourself a pat on the back!
A gift that’ll brighten up any teacher’s desk. We love that these Papier notebooks can be personalised PLUS Papier is donating 50% of profits to AKT, the brilliant charity dedicated to providing safe homes and better futures for LGBTQ+ young people.
Wean in 15 by Joe Wicks contains 100 recipes to take your child from milk to solids and beyond, including this recipe for Caribbean Spiced Chicken and Squash Curry.
When we spoke to Joe Wicks about Wean in 15 he told us his favourite recipe was Caribbean Spiced Chicken and Squash Curry. So here’s the recipe for you!
This is the tastiest curry in the whole book. Remember your baby’s appetite can vary day-to-day, so don’t be upset if they don’t eat all the food you offer them.
Makes 1 adult and 2 child portions
1 ½ tbsp Caribbean curry powder or normal curry powder 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces 1 tbsp coconut oil 1 onion, finely chopped Sprig of thyme 1 bay leaf 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp minced ginger ½ tsp allspice powder 4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk 400g frozen cubed butternut squash Juice ½ lime 6 spring onions, roughly chopped Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
Sprinkle half the curry powder over the chicken, mix well and put to one side.
Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onion, thyme and bay leaf and fry for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and ginger and continue cooking for a further minute.
Sprinkle in the remaining curry powder and the allspice and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes to seal. Add in the tomatoes and continue cooking until they start to break down.
Add the coconut milk and squash to the pan and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes or until the squash is cooked through. Stir in the lime juice, spring onions and coriander. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving. Serve with Rice.
For some, the summer has come to soon to dismiss concerns about Covid-19 so a UK staycation is on the cards. For others, a trip abroad on a family summer holiday is an annual event not to be missed. European resorts are open so we thought we’d take a look at what’s on offer if you want to book a last-minute family summer holiday. ALWAYS check health guidelines and quarantine of the country you are going to and returning to.
A true gem waiting for you in Corfu this summer is Villa 1870, a historical five-bedroom, three-bathroom residence offering a private hideaway just 3km from Corfu Old Town. Sleeping up to 16 guests, Villa 1870 is ideal for families wanting a reunion trip following lockdown, whilst still enjoying privacy and isolation. On the property, you’ll find a heated outdoor seawater pool and games room as well as a private in-house chef (yes please!), daily housekeeping, access to their own chauffeur-driven mini-van, and local, insider knowledge from the owners. Corfu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers plenty of sightseeing even during the cooler months, so guests can spend their days discovering Venetian architecture, exploring quiet cobbled squares, and even joining the Corfiots swimming in the sea! Nightly rates between €800 – €1,400, depending on the season. Rate includes accommodation, daily housekeeping, private mini-van airport transfers and to/from Corfu Town, baby equipment, laundry facilities and in-house private chef. Guests only pay for the ingredients of meals, not for the Chef service. For more information, please visit www.villa1870corfu.com.
The photography from our next summer holiday destination is enough to get you to book your flight. Sani Resort is open from July and with it their 1,000 acre ecological reserve with 7km of unspoiled and private sandy beaches leading to the ocean, spacious rooms and suites with private terraces, gardens and pools. From beach yoga, windsurfing and paddleboarding, to more educational activities such as beekeeping and bird watching in the Sani Wetlands, there’s something for every family at Sani Resort. Prices at Porto Sani in a Suite with Terrace or Balcony start from €180 per night, on a half-board basis. For more information, visitwww.saniresort.gr
Spread across 22 acres of landscaped gardens, the luxury all-inclusive Ikos Olivia offers a range of outdoor activities to suit the whole family during their summer holiday. There are complimentary clubs for kids and teens aged 4 – 17, operated according to strict British OFSTED standards. Heros Crèche with professional childcare crèche services for children up to the age of 4 is also available at an extra cost. After a day filled with activities, families can enjoy Michelin starred cuisine. The resort’s spacious Deluxe Collection suites and bungalows (above) offer the ultimate privacy for families, including one- and two-bedroom suites. Ikos Olivia will reopen on 1st July with enhanced health & safety measures as part of Ikos Resort’s new Infinite Care Protocol: https://ikosresorts.com/the-ikos-world-of-safety-freedom
Located off the western coast of France, the Ile de Ré couldn’t feel further from our current surroundings in the UK. With its picturesque villages, whitewashed streets, long stretches of sandy beaches and cycle paths winding through cornfields and vineyards, the Ile de Ré is a picture-perfect destination for a post-lockdown getaway with the family. Stay at the idyllic Villa Clarisse, nestled down a quiet cobbled street off Saint-Martin-de-Ré’s harbour, and enjoy a laid-back retreat where the staff are on hand to arrange picnics, bicycle hire and day trips. There’s a lovely outdoor heated pool and sandpit in the walled garden – the property has a relaxed feel which is great for families after months in lockdown together. The summer months see Parisian families flock there too! Nightly rates at Villa Clarisse start from €290 per night in a Premium Room (room-only). For further information and reservations, please visit www.villa-clarisse.com or call +33 546 684 300.
Following its annual closure and full redevelopment, the five-star HotelCrillon le Brave is set to re-open its doors to guests on 2nd July. Nestled within a village eponymous of the Vaucluse region, the hotel offers families the chance to explore the picture-perfect Provençal countryside and quaint, historical nearby towns. Children can visit old Roman castles while parents enjoy a glass of rose from the neighbouring vineyards. Crillon Le Brave is a gateway of adventure where children will discover hidden doorways along the garden walls and can cool down in the hotel pool when the excitement of running around has tired them out. This timeless hideaway combines chic design, complete privacy and attentive but discreet service, offering the ultimate French getaway for families to enjoy a quieter pace of life. Nightly rates at Hotel Crillon Le Brave start from 350 Euros on a bed & breakfast basis. For reservations and information visitwww.crillonlebrave.com.
Image: Antonio Furigno
A winter favourite of City Kids, Courmayeur Mont Blanc, is also a summer playground. It’s situated on the Italian side of Mont Blanc with car-free cobbled streets, family-run hotels, charming atmosphere, short transfer times and the superb offering of hiking, biking and fresh air. Food is gourmet standard, and hands up if your child doesn’t like pizza or pasta. No, we thought not. Head to the Skyway for a unique view of Mont Blanc and the valley below or try white water rafting, ice skating, indoor climbing, tennis, table tennis, golf and 5-a-side football. For more information on Courmayeur Mont Blanc visit:https://www.courmayeurmontblanc.it/en. Images:Courmayeur Mont Blanc.
Villa Le Fauci is a traditional and historic 19th-century Tuscan farmhouse located between coastal Livorno and fashionable Florence. It’s quiet and secluded and ideal for families looking to escape the crowds. Surrounded by flora and fauna, it is perfect for exploring with the kids, and families may even spot some of the wildlife that is common in the area, such as wild boar, foxes and deer. It has plenty of outside space, a full-size pool and a thoughtful mini pool for little ones. A converted roof terrace with 360° panoramic views of the hilly landscape, is a great place for parents to end the day with a glass of wine in hand. The villa sleeps eleven guests in four bedrooms. Rates from £3,858 for a seven-night stay. To book, visit www.oliverstravels.com or call 0800 133 7999.
If you’re in need of a health MOT but the family deserve a holiday too why not combine the two at this spa hotel which also happens to be a superb beach resort in The Algarve. With a new 7 night Family Wellness Package,Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa is the ultimate family-friendly wellness destination. Families can enjoy a variety of activities together including yoga, fitness and healthy cooking sessions. It has one of the best Thalassotherapy Centres in the world set within 11 hectares of land with five outdoor pools of fresh or seawater, four tennis courts and two excellent restaurants providing quality healthy cuisine. There’s also a superb Kids Club and a range of options for kids to stay healthy and active alongside their parents.
Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa (longevityvilalara.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, +351 967 108 244) offers the 7-night Family Wellness Package from €2,347 / £2,028 based on two adults and one child staying in a Junior Suite Garden View and from €3,422 / £2,957 for a family of two adults and two children.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the Vale Covo cliffside, the family-friendly five-star Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort offers coastal bliss for all the family just a 10-minute walk from the small fishing village of Carvoeiro. As well as the iconic circular swimming pool and rooftop bar, the spacious hotel also offers three restaurants, a Tivoli Spa and easy access to outdoor a multitude of fun, family activities, like the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, that make the most of the beautiful location. Nightly rates at Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort start from 220 EUR.
With a spectacular setting in the rolling hills of Andalusia overlooking Spain’s southern coastline, the independently-owned Finca Cortesin is the epitome of refined, yet relaxed Mediterranean living. The resort comprises an award-winning 67-suite hotel; one of the best championship golf courses in the world; an outstanding spa and sports facilities; some of the best Japanese raw cuisine outside of Japan; exclusive shopping area and a Beach Club, in addition to stunning five-bedroom villas that are perfect for families. The villas are located at the heart of Finca Cortesin, offering the utmost privacy from the main resort and offer unsurpassed views of the Sierra Bermeja mountain range, the golf course and the Mediterranean Sea. These all en-suite residences have been built on spacious individual plots of up to 2,200m2 – perfect for multi-generational families or groups of friends seeking more space. Nightly rates in the 5-bedroom Green 10 villas start from €3,467 (currently approx. £3,057). www.fincacortesin.com
Hillside Beach Club in Fethiye, Turkey, is a luxury hideaway perfect for family summer holidays. It has extensive outdoor space, including three stunning beaches and a beautiful private bay. Children and adults looking for activities and adventure are spoilt for choice, with water sports galore and activities from robot building to football competitions and DJ masterclasses. Hike through history and explore nearby ancient historical sites including the deserted village of Kayakoy, or take to the water and explore the coast on a sunset boat tour discovering 12 magical islands speckled across the Turkish coastline. Nightly rates start from £250 based from on two people sharing a standard room on a full board plus* basis.
Sun’s out, guns out, but more importantly, it’s time for the best family takeaway picnics! Luckily, one of our fave contributors, Tiny Table, has put together a fantastic list of ready-made picnics for families to enjoy.
LUXE LUNCHES: PIQUE Born out of Battersea, Pique’s luxury handmade picnics are vast in choice and ideal for families looking to really roll out the red picnic blanket. Birthday Breakfast hampers come complete with brunch essentials: banana and dark chocolate loaf with birthday candles, party hats, flowers and bubbles (for the big kids!). The natty named Leonardo de Veggie box is packed with veggie delights and the full monty is called The Pique-Nique. Chorizo, apricot and thyme sausage rolls, Lemony hummus and crudités, charcuterie, brie, pickles & chutney, orzo pasta salad, baguettes, brownies and more. Order with 48 hours notice and their picnic boxes will arrive to your door with disposable, compostable and plastic-free packaging. ORDER HERE
THE DELI DELIGHT: MELROSE AND MORGAN Melrose And Morgan are always our first stop for deli delights in Primrose Hill and Hampstead Village. From the Park to the Heath, their summer picnic hampers scale up from two to six, making them the perfect for family feasts in the sun. The Meadow is ideal for a family of four and packed with divine delights – salad, veggie or meat scotch eggs, cheddar cheese, hummus and spelt crackers, truffle crisps, broad beans, olives, feta stuffed peppers, cherry tomatoes, a punnet of strawberries and sinfully gooey chocolate brownies. ORDER HERE
FULL ON FAMILY FEASTING: JIMMY’S POP UP We waxed lyrical about their BBQ hampers and Jimmy’s Pop Up new picnic box is equally as impressive. Serving up to four, this hamper is just the ticket if you’re looking for a really special family alfresco feast. The best of British picnic fare, artisan cheese and meats sit nestled next to giant sausage rolls, handmade pork pies, homemade chutney, pickles, smoked salmon and for pud – strawberries and cream. Grown-ups can toast all their hard work during lockdown with a bottle of red, white or rose. Get ordering as Jimmy’s picnic box is set to be a popular one! ORDER HERE
SUNDAY LUNCH: THE EMPRESS East London gastropub The Empress is keeping to tradition despite recent events. Their takeaway Sunday roasts are pretty special and ideal for weekend picnicking. Their classic Empress Sunday Roast comes served with Yorkshire pudding, braised red cabbage, roast carrots & parsnips, spring greens & roast potatoes. So what will it be roast beef, pork belly or a vegan beetroot and nut roast? If you can squeeze room in for pudding there’s an unctuous sticky toffee pud and apricot Bakewell tart, both served with clotted cream. Order in advance to avoid disappointment! ORDER HERE
PIES, PASTRIES & PICNICS: POPHAMS We’re partial to their pastries, so when Pophams announced their picnic kits we jumped for joy…and in the nick of time for National Picnic Week. The ideal day-date treat for if you’ve snatched a few hours away from the kids whilst they’re at school, Pophams hamper is overflowing with deliciousness – root vegetables pithivier, olives, build your own porchetta focaccia sarnie, herby Isle of Wight Tomato salad, PB & J bread pudding sando, Pophams Eccles cakes with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and more. A lush lunch in the sunshine if we ever did see! Nip over to pophamsbakery.com to order your picnic ORDER HERE
VEGAN PICNIC PICK: PETERSHAM NURSERIES Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty only moments away from the River Thames and on the doorstep of Richmond Park, Petersham Nurseries are serving up one heavenly park-ready vegan picnic. Priced at £40 for two (double for a family of four) the dishes are as mouthwatering as their restaurant fare. Vivid green pea hummus, farro and pesto salad, mushroom, chard and onion filo start, a moreish focaccia and English strawberries with mint sugar and Amalfi lemon. Orders for collection from Petersham Nurseries Richmond, Thursday – Sunday from 11.30am to 4.30pm. Order by 4pm for next day collection. ORDER HERE
MUMS THAT BRUNCH: THE FARMER’S MISTRESS If you’re bringing up your brood in South London, you’ll be familiar with The Farmer’s Mistress and their brilliant brunches. Their brand new Farmer’s Mistress Picnic box is not only environmentally friendly in a biodegradable box but is perfect for mums lunch dates on Clapham Common. With mini brioche aplenty tuck into non-Dairy cream cheese, balsamic onion, roasted pepper, wild garlic pesto, prawn, crème fraiche, avo, baby gem and chicken, smoked bacon. and sun-dried tomato. Caramelised apple & apricot sausage roll, date ketchup, scotch eggs and mustard mayo and wholewheat fusilli pesto pasta salad. Sweet endings? The salted caramel fudge brownie & millionaire shortbread bites are EPIC! ORDER HERE
MEAT FEAST: FIELD & FLOWER Award-winning online butcher Field & Flower have been keeping the country fed on the finest meat, poultry and fish during lockdown with their amazing array of delivery boxes. As part of their BBQ box range, their Summer Picnic BBQ box comes primed with thick-cut ham, artisan scotch eggs and British charcuterie alongside a hefty hunk of Barber’s Haystack Cheddar Cheese and pickles galore. With 32 whopping servings, this box will generously feed 3-4 people at least and comes in under £50. A top picnic pic for hungry families. ORDER HERE
ICE CREAM DREAM: CHIN CHIN LABS Kids picnics at home call for one thing – ice cream! Those clever chaps at Chin Chin Labs have gone all out this summer with their brand new Ice Cream in the Post! Using liquid nitrogen means their ice cream stays colder for longer so they can post freshly churned & hand-packed nitro ice cream straight from Chin Chin’s Soho kitchen to your front door! Each ice cream box includes one tub of Burnt Butter Caramel, one tub of Tonka Bean and one tub of Strawberry Milk ice cream. Please note that only grown-ups can handle the unpacking due to the dry ice in the box. ORDER HERE
ALFRESCO AFTERNOON TEA: HAM YARD HOTEL Firmdale Hotel’s Ham Yard Hotel may still be closed but they’ve kept their kitchen open to bring us one sweet treat – afternoon tea boxes. With delivery to most postcodes across London, Ham Yard Hotel have boxed up their favourite treats including delicious finger sandwiches, sumptuous savouries like tomato arancini and sausage rolls, scones with clotted cream and preserves and our mouth-watering cakes, including lemon drizzle and raspberry Bakewell tart. Place your order prior to midday on Thursday for a choice of Friday, Saturday or Sunday delivery. ORDER HERE
Half a million pounds raised for the NHS, millions of followers on Instagram, nine best-selling books and now a PE teacher for the nation’s kids. In the first of two features, Joe Wicks speaks to City Kids about his motivation, his lockdown experience and his greatest work…
Just three months ago, Joe Wicks was putting the finishing touches to his latest book, Wean in 15. But the Covid-19 pandemic set him on another path, with lockdown accelerating his phenomenal success thanks to PE with Joe. The Body Coach tells Victoria Evans about what he considers to be his greatest work.
“It looks like an overnight success, but I’ve built my brand, trust and loyalty over eight or nine years of YouTube, going to schools and doing UK schools tours. I really believe in what I’m doing, I’m really passionate. It takes a lot for a parent who’s never heard of you or seen your content to let you into their room and their house live on a stream. I always dreamed, I knew this was going to happen, but I thought it was going to take me 10 years of hard work and it happened in the space of three months because of the lockdown and PE with Joe, that’s the truth. I know I would have worked so hard to make it happen anyway, but it just intensified it and magnified it.”
So, did you always want to work with kids? I dreamed of being a PE teacher, that was my first ambition. My career went into personal training and when I realised I had a massive audience and a massive reach, I thought, “what means a lot to me?” I really think young people, mental health and fitness is very important so then I did a trial whether it was a Facebook live or YouTube live with schools, very small numbers and it grew from that. Then I went out on the road to real schools and got to know the teachers, parents and the kids and really understood how to engage children, how to make it fun and that evolved into PE with Joe. We’re now in our 12th week.
Alongside PE with Joe, you’ve launched your ninth book, Wean in 15. Was this an obvious business decision? It wasn’t a forced thing, “oh now I want to capitalise and monetise this”, it was more like, I’ve got an opportunity and people really need this advice. I’m getting so many questions online about when to start, what to do, so I took all the information I learned and all the research from [nutritionist] Charlotte Stirling-Reed and put it into a book. I can’t believe how many people have got this book already. I’ve given out so much free content, I’ve given out all those free recipes, I’ve given so much advice on Wean in 15 that when you do the book, people support it.
Image Maja Smend from Wean in 15
That’s an interesting way to build your business as you do offer so much for free. I always believe you’ve got to share free content. You have to give before you get given. I’ve always been like that, even now. My YouTube is an example. I’ve had DVDs in the past, I’ve had cookbooks, but I still love doing my YouTube videos because they’re free and they’re for everyone. I also have my Instagram with loads of recipes for free because I don’t want anyone to feel they can’t access it or they can’t get to it. I always say, my 90-day plan is a great plan, but you don’t need that, you can use my Instagram recipes, my Wean in 15 Instagram or my YouTube videos and you can still have a transformation; you can still go on a journey and that’s important to me because I don’t want anyone to feel left out of my business and my brand. I mean you need money to survive and have a company, but the majority of my content is free for everyone to access. That really is the stuff that motivates me. When I get a million people doing a workout with me that’s fantastic, that’s true motivation and that inspires me you know.
Your life is very public, and your business has been built on social media. How often do you reflect on the kids being involved in that? I contradict myself sometimes about the way I feel about it. You either go all in or you don’t. We have conversations where we dip in and out of not wanting to be on there but then there are some things that we love to share – Indie’s on the front cover of my book. I suppose even if I didn’t have millions of followers, as a culture I think we all like to share our pictures and our children so it’s just the way of the world now. I just embrace technology. It’s allowed me to have a fantastic life so there are pros and cons to it.
Do you ever feel pressured, or is it stressful living your life so publicly? I don’t feel like it’s pressure, I feel like this is my role, this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my time. I could hand over my Instagram to someone else and ask them to run it for me and answer all these questions, but I know that I need to connect with all the emotions that people are feeling. I need to know why I’m doing this, why I work so hard and who it’s affecting and how it’s helping people and so I don’t feel like burning out I feel like I’m just getting into my groove and that I’ve got more to offer. and that I can reach more people so it’s not a pressure.
What memories will you take from this period? For me, PE with Joe is the thing I will remember forever. I’ve been there for people when they’ve needed it the most and it’s kept me sane and kept me happy as well. I think this is the greatest work, and it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t know whether I’ll do anything as meaningful as this again.
Image from @thebodycoach by Ollie & Nix Photography
You always talk so lovingly about Rosie, what’s your relationship like? There’s no power struggle really with us, it’s quite balanced. She’s an amazing mum, she’s really good with the kids. I always look at her when the kids are screaming and I think, how are you so patient and calm and it makes me think if she can be like that then I can too so I’m learning from her every day. 100% she’s made me a better person, especially as a parent. I was shouted at and screamed at as a kid. In my head I’m screaming and shouting but I’ve learned to internalise it and be more patient. There are days that you do want to pull your hair out and scream at the kids but it doesn’t get you anywhere, it doesn’t help. So, learning to communicate better is something I’ve learned from her.
Your parents must be so proud of the person you’ve become. A lot of my friends from my area ended up on drugs or in prison but we broke that mould. You’d have expected us to have been like that you know. I believe in three things and my motto is work hard, have fun and be nice. If you do those three things with relationships, with work, with everything you attack in life, if you have fun doing it and are kind to people and you put in the effort, you will be successful. That’s such a simple way of living life and it’s always what I think about. Am I being kind enough, am I working hard enough and am I having fun and living my best life and if I think I am then I normally am.
So back to Wean in 15, how will you approach weaning with Marley as you’ll be starting soon We’re going to repeat the process which his basically a two-week veg led approach so for the first two weeks we focus on one new vegetable a day so whether it’s spinach or kale so really develop a palate for those savoury tastes. Then you can introduce sweeter things and start combining stuff. It’s all about consistency so lots of variety, try not to offer alternatives if they kick something back. I really want Marley to love food like we do. Me, Rosie and Indie all love food, we live for food, we’re obsessed with it so I hope that if we repeat the same process and have the same principles that he’ll be similar or the same as Indie, but who knows. We’ll see, it might change.
Food does seem to be a big part of Wicks family life. I love any food. I love chocolate but I like being in control of what I’m eating and feeling energised. Food can make you feel so happy and energised but you can also have a complete blow out all weekend and it can make you feel knackered and tired and bloated and so I allow myself treats and I know the effect it has on me but I still really do prefer eating healthy food that’s home-cooked.
Picnic or Lion Bar? Lion bars and the white one’s good as well.
What’s your favourite recipe from the book? Broccoli and cheddar tots are really easy to make and super more-ish and there’s a chicken and and butternut squash stew at the back which is for older kids. They’re really good recipes for families. If you’ve got kids who are a bit older there are some great recipes in there, you don’t have to be weaning to enjoy it.
Recipe and demo for Broccoli and Cheddar Tots from @thebodycoach:
For more from our interview with Joe, stay tuned to the site and @citykidsmagazine when Joe talks more about family life, his inspiration and his hopes for the future.
Wean in 15 is available on Amazon and via all good bookshops. You can follow Joe on Instagram @thebodycoach and use his workouts on YouTube.
Where to buy face masks: our guide to face coverings you can wear with style
Face masks are becoming part of everyday life so there’s a huge demand. Whether you’re using public transport, heading to the airport, going to the supermarket or social distancing, here are some of the less surgical looking coverings available from businesses large and small to help you wear face masks with style. This is our guide to where to buy face masks. Bear in mind that they sell out fast, but are restocked often!
Government guidance The official guidance outlines that children under two, who cannot put on their own mask, or if they have a respiratory condition, do not have to wear a covering. Also note that it is not mandatory that children under 11 wear a face mask on public transport.
Citizens of Humanity have been making masks for front line workers and they have several designs to choose from for public. They’ve also partnered with the Haas Brothers to make these limited edition masks in kids and adults sizes. $16.
Brora’s range of Liberty print face masks are raising plenty of money for NHS charities – £10 from every mask sale goes to NHS Charities Together. £19.
These Vistaprint RFS reusable masks are engineered with a Replaceable Filter System, tailored for comfort, and printed in unique designs for adults and kids. 10% of mask sales goes to local communities. From £13.
For something a little more high end, the designers at Wolford have put their minds to three designs. This lace face covering is made from the finest silk. For the less brave, there are other designs. From £20.
Sunny weather, restrictions loosening? Must be time for a picnic with friends. Here’s our guide to the best London parks for picnics
Primrose Hill One of our favourite London views is from the top of Primrose Hill, a whopping 63 metres above sea level. A special spot to watch the sun go down.
Victoria Park Over 86 hectares, this is one of London’s larges parks, as well as one of its oldest. Sadly the splash park isn’t open until May but you should be able to find a little piece of green for your rug.
London Fields Close to Broadway Market, if you can’t be bothered to pack the picnic, you can buy supplies here. The Olympic-sized lido is sadly not open yet, but it won’t be long!
Holland Park There’s plenty to do here if you need to keep the kids entertained with football, golf and netball posts. Plus the Kyoto garden may just be a hint of how Japan is looking during blossom season.
Richmond Park Ignoring the roads that criss-cross this huge expanse of land, you really could be miles from the city here. Don’t talk to the deer though, they can do serious harm.
Wandsworth Park A nice spot by the river, with a couple of pubs close by if the mood takes. Plus Putt in the Park which is fun for all ages and abilities.
Brockwell Park When restrictions finally lift, you need to head here early for a swim at Brockwell Lido and then a wonderful picnic in the park. Explorers will discover the 19th-century clock tower, a walled garden and some formal planting.
Thames Barrier Park Who knew there was an accompanying park to this feat of engineering. It’s a whole day out too, including fountains, flower gardens, manicured lawns and a café.
St James’s Park Take a trip to one of London’s most royal of parks. Surrounded by royal residences and Horse Guards Parade, there’s also a fountain, lake and pelicans to amuse.
Kew Gardens Always a popular choice when the sun shines, it’s still possible to find a quiet spot for a sarnie.
Images courtesy: Primrose Hill: Royal Parks Holland Park: travellingdaveuk Brockwell Park Lido: Brockwell Park Lido