About Me

Californian Mum in London

Hi, I'm Elfa. I grew up in Northern California's Bay Area. After university, I moved to San Diego in search of some sun. In 2000 I moved to Paris, for a few months, looking for an adventure (and a romance with a Frenchman). There I met the loveliest British boy and vowed to make him mine. I moved to London in 2002 to be with him. I was only going to stay for three years, then we would move to California together. I never expected to love living in London. But here I am. If you want to read a bit about our story, here it is.

I am a mum to an nine-year old girl, Moozles (not her real name just what we bizarrely call her) and a five-year old boy, Dubz (not his real name either--what a shocker). Moozles loves science, art, reading and fairies. She's not sure whether to be an engineer or a spy when she grows up. Dubz is crazy about Star Wars, Lego, dinosaurs, superheroes and wearing hats. Both kids have glue ear (like their father) so I spend a lot of time talking to myself. 

I used to work in HR, but I gave up my job after I had Dubz. I enjoyed working 2.5 days/week but I loathed the hour commute into central London. Plus, I had always wanted to be one of those mums who walked her kids to school, made costumes and baked. It turns out that motherhood isn't so easy. I am not very good at making costumes, but my baking has greatly improved. Sometimes I miss working, but I'm enjoying being a stay-at-home mum for the moment (though this blog is now my work). I want to give a real, and authentic, feel of motherhood. I hope you agree.

I have toyed with the idea of writing a blog for years, and finally decided to have a go. Even if no one reads this, at least I'll get a few things off my chest. If someone IS reading this, thank you! xx

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19 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Sandra Johnstone

    Hi,

    Just wanted to ping you a quick message to see if you are open to working with some of our clients?

    Generally they like to either produce some content for you or pay you to produce some content for them on your site. They are very keen to work with good quality sites like yours and would love to explore ways that we can start that.

    Can you let me know if you would be open to: -

    Taking some content from us
    Writing a post for us
    Talking about our client on social media

    If you are open to that then what sort of arrangement would suit you? We are very keen to work with you and hope we can find a way to work together.

    Let me know!

    Regards

    Sandra
    http://www.marketzing.co.uk

    Reply
  2. Sorina Blinkhorne

    Hi
    I've seen one posting where you mentioned that you went to Seychelles with a 20 months old baby. Could I ask you a few things please, i.e. what to pack for a baby and more important what chances I have to find there baby wipes, nappies, Hipp Organic milk, or anything for a baby so I can pack lighter?
    Also, we don't know which island would be more child friendly, meaning, on which one we can buy those things.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated please.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Post author

      Hi! Yes, we did go to The Seychelles when our daughter was that age. We brought all the wipes and nappies that we would need (we went for 10 days). At the time my daughter had a sensitivity to lactose, so we brought UHT-cartons of Lactofree milk. There aren't big shops in the Seychelles, and things cost much more there than they do here. Don't worry about packing too light, when you're there your child won't need much clothing. We went to both Praslin and Mahe. There's a British blogger, Chantelle, who lives in Praslin with a toddler--check out her blog for more info: http://www.seychellesmama.com/. Have a wonderful holiday! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Sorina Blinkhorne

    Thank you for your reply.
    I got your details from one of Chantelle's blog, but I thought of asking you as you were in the same situation, going on holiday there.
    We have been to Mahe before the baby arrived, but I just want a smaller island and no sure between Praslin and La Digue.
    Could I ask you one more thing please: where did you stay in Praslin?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Post author

      We stayed in a self-catering place in Praslin. I can't remember the name. But it was right on the beach, so we could lay out while my daughter napped inside. And we could go swimming right outside our little house/hut. Our daughter had problems napping, as she wasn't dealing well with the heat, so make sure you stay somewhere with air-conditioning. If you had everything, I don't think it would matter if you were in La Digue or Praslin. Just make sure you have piriton, insect stuff, sunscreen, calpol--all the essentials--then you wouldn't have to worry too much about shops or a pharmacy. Also, our hire care didn't have child/baby seats, so I actually held our daughter on my lap whenever we drove.

      Reply
  4. Dear Elfa,

    I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch. I’m currently working on a new prestigious skincare brand campaign for Little Dot Studios. We are looking to feature a range of wonderful women, mothers, babies and bloggers who suffer from dry or eczema-prone skin for a series of YouTube videos for the brand. It’s a paid opportunity. At the moment we cannot reveal the brand name as we are in the process of just getting the word out, but of course this will be revealed to applicants further down the line.

    Please see below with regards to more info regarding the campaign. It would be great to hear from you if you feel this opportunity would be of interest.

    Thanks again and have a good day!

    Warmest wishes,

    Fozia

    Fozia Nasir
    Assistant Producer

    t: +44 203 040 4332
    m: + 44 785 069 3156

    http://www.littledotstudios.com
    @littledotstudios

    A prestigious skincare brand is looking for women and mothers with children from 3 months old who suffer with dry or dry, eczema-prone skin to participate in a series of skincare videos that will sit on YouTube (fee paid)

    Do you, your child or someone you know suffer from dry or dry, eczema-prone skin?

    We are looking for women, mothers and children from all over the UK to appear in a brand new series of videos for the brand’s YouTube channel

    · Have you found that your skin gets drier as you get older?
    · Does having dry skin run in your family?
    · Do you have a child up to the age of 3 years who also suffers from dry, eczema- prone skin?
    · Does your skin become dry at certain times of the year such as summer or winter?

    Would you like to discuss your dry skin condition with a skin specialist and get advice on how to manage it?

    If any of the above sounds like you and you’d like to know more, then we would like to hear from you!

    Our ambition is to create a YouTube community where people can learn about, discuss & share skin care advice.

    If this is something you’d be interested in, please get in touch and tell us a bit more about yourself by emailing:

    casting@littledotstudios.com

    By contacting us you are not obliged to take part in any filming.

    Reply
  5. Mandy Kavanagh

    Hello Elfa
    I wanted to let you know about a fab party for girls available in London. Bead-Kids Jewellery Making Parties visit you at home or chosen venue and is guaranteed to be a big hit!
    Children love being creative so what better way to spend their birthday party with friends making jewellery to take home - party bags sorted!
    If you were to be so kind as to let your followers know about this exciting party idea, I can supply any pictures and further information you may require.
    Many thanks for your time,
    Mandy x
    Bead-Kids Jewellery Parties

    Reply
  6. Rosie Lloyd

    Hi Elfa,

    I work in Save the Children’s comms team and I wanted to get in touch to see if you’d be interested in a being a vital part of a new campaign we are launching. We love Californian Mum in London and would love it if you could be part of a select group of bloggers that we are reaching out to, to work alongside Save the Children this year as you and your child receive an exclusive ‘first-look’ at a new and exciting venture we are currently developing: Save the Children Club.

    Save the Children Club is our exciting new membership scheme that will enable Children living here in the UK to understand the lives of children just like them but from very different places around the world through fun and informative activities that foster creativity and empathy. The membership scheme will be the only charity product for children like this on the market; once signed up, children will receive a welcome pack in the post addressed directly to them and this communication is then set to continue throughout the year – with lots fun, rewarding and informative content.

    As you’re from America yourself and travel a lot I thought this pack would be perfect for the traveller within you - we would love to welcome you, Moozles and Dubz to Save the Children’s Head Office in Farringdon, London on Saturday 9th May between 12-4pm to come and get a first-look at the pack and its contents, hear from our humanitarian experts about our work in emergencies, play some of the games and get stuck into the activities included in our pilot launch pack. We’re planning a super fun and engaging day so you will hopefully enjoy it! At the end of the day we’d love to hear your feedback on what you think works/doesn’t work.

    We see this as a long-standing relationship and are hoping to keep in contact with you and the rest of the group throughout the year – this could include taking you out to visit our work and gather content, as well as letting us know the types of things your children are interested in learning about. We’re really excited about this new project and can’t wait to get feedback from some real experts 

    Refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon and travel costs up to £50 will be covered by us.

    Please do let me know if you’re able to come along on the 9th May and I can make sure all the necessary arrangements are covered.

    Best wishes,
    Rosie

    Reply
  7. Pingback:

  8. Hello Elfa,

    My name is Sally and I work for a casting company in London. I know it is a bit cheeky to contact you on here, but I thought it might be something you and your followers might be interested in...

    We are casting an online video for a social media brand and we are looking for a range of professionals and their parents to feature in it!

    This is a really cute video about parent/adult child dynamics.

    We're looking for career professionals who’s parents also live in/near to London. You need to be in full time employment and established in your career.

    We have had a really good response so far but haven't heard anything from any Americans! We are assuming that it is because not very many Americans with parents in London, but I was hoping you could help me spread the word... please?

    There is no audition process - the client would just like to give you and your family a quick Skype or FaceTime!

    If your family is selected for the shoot you will be paid £300 for an hour long shoot which will be held on either Saturday 10th or Sunday 11th October.

    If anyone is interested they should email us as soon as possible with:

    - A photo of you and your parents (or you and your older child!)
    - Your names and ages
    - Your Ethnicity/Cultural heritage
    - Natural accent
    - Your careers
    - Contact Details (telephone number and video conference number- skype/facetime, and email address)

    If you have any questions Elfa, or if you want to just verify that I am a real human being, please feel free to call me on 07447 042233 at any time.

    Best wishes,

    Sally x

    Sally Andrews
    Casting Assistant

    ET Casting Ltd
    27 Ingersoll Road, London, W12 7BE
    Tel: +44 (0) 203 010 3030
    Mob: +44 (0) 7447 042 233
    http://www.etcasting.com
    Twitter: @etcasting

    Reply
  9. Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.

    I am a psychoanalyst in NY who enjoys your blog. I have an upcoming book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior, described below with my bio. I was wondering if you would like to receive a book from the publisher and write a review for your website.

    Let me know if you're interested and the address you'd like the book sent to.

    Book Description
    Why do children do what they do?
    What’s on their minds?
    How can parents know their child’s inner world?

    Unlocking Parental Intelligence lifts the curtain on these questions by helping parents become “meaning-makers” who understand the significance behind their kids’ behaviors. With five enlightening steps, parents will solve problems by learning what their kids think, want, intend, and feel. They will see actions as communications. The challenge is to understand their messages.
    Parental Intelligence helps parents as they wrestle with the common and sometimes desperate vexations of family life. Experienced psychoanalyst Laurie Hollman, PhD, explains Parental Intelligence through compelling stories of parents who view distressing behaviors as catalysts for change by transforming them into open exchanges of ideas and feelings. Parents and professionals alike will find a new empathic approach from this uplifting book that will reshape families’ lives and guide them through all stages of typical and atypical child development.

    Condensed Bio

    Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy. She has been on the faculties of New York University and the Society for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, among others. She has written extensively on parenting for various publications, including the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, The International Journal of Infant Observation, The Inner World of the Mother, Newsday’s Parents & Children Magazine, Long Island Parent, and her popular column, PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE, at Moms Magazine. She also writes blogs for Huffington Post. Her new book is Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior.She and her husband are the proud parents of two spirited, loving adult sons.

    Best regards,
    Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.
    http://lauriehollmanphd.com

    Reply
  10. Hey Elfa,

    Just love your blog and thought you'd be really interested in this product launch I'm involved in, next Tuesday.

    If you're in a rush, there's a 10 sec teaser here - http://www.curiscope.com/kickstarter_teaser

    The product is a t-shirt, priced like a t-shirt
    But when viewed through an app (mobile/tablet/mobile VR) it transforms into an interactive learning experience about the anatomy.

    VR mode effectively gives you X-Ray Goggles and then lets you dive into the body to see what it’s like to be inside the bloodstream and the heart.

    We have a press release and press kit at the link below.
    Press Kit: http://www.curiscope.com/kickstarter_prkit

    We launch Tuesday 1st. 03.30pm GMT: http://www.curiscope.com/kickstarter

    Thanks for taking the time to check us out,
    Dora

    --
    Teodora Mousseva
    Curiscope
    m: 001-515-897-1937
    w: www.curiscope.com

    Reply
  11. Mary

    Hi,
    My name is Mary Johnson and I am a freelance editor and writer. I am currently collaborating with different pages producing articles and blog posts about all kinds of topics. While visiting your blog, it occurred to me to ask you if you would be interested in a content-related collaboration with your website. I have an article idea that I believe fits the content of your page quite well.

    Thanks in advance for your time and I am looking forward to your reply.

    Best regards,

    Mary Johnson

    Reply
  12. Elaine

    I'm so happy I found your blog. I'm from Castro Valley (east bay) and married an amazing British guy and he has convinced me to move to England. We leave on 10/19 and will be taking my 8 year old daughter with us. It feels nice to know that there are more of us Bay Area mums in England .

    Reply
    1. Post author

      Hi Elaine! Good luck with your impending move. You'd be surprised at how many of us Californian gals there are in the UK. I'm sure you'll make some lovely British, and maybe even American, friends! Take care! 🙂

      Reply
  13. Hello,

    My name is Joy and I’d love to discuss with you the possibility of buying some advertising space on your website.

    If this is something you’re interested in, then please let me know so that we can arrange a deal that suits both of us.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Reply

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