Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor are the mega-mama duo behind Mush (letsmush.com). When Sarah, an ex-advertising exec, landed herself baby number two and was looking for a like-minded mum to crush the loneliness and share the daily foibles of ‘two under two’, Katie Massie-Taylor couldn’t have stepped into a rainy London playground at a better time! Having both agreed that mums should have access to a free and fun way to make friends nearby, the two quickly set about forging plans to bring their app idea to life. Fast-forward to 2018 and Mush is now the #1 app for local social network for making mum friends.
From-ups to days out with their little ones, Sarah and Katie adore seeking out family-friendly spots to grab a bite and well earned cup of coffee (or wine!) in their neighbourhood. From the flora and fauna of Kew to bustling triangle of the upper Richmond Road, Sarah & Katie take us on a delicious journey through the streets of South West London to share their favourite child-friendly foodie haunts…
1. I’d like a table for…
SARAH: Ooh….myself and my little brothers. I have three of them and they are all huge. We’d sit in the Bottle and Glass pub (near Reading where we grew up), laugh at each other all evening long and argue about who had ordered the best dish off the menu.
KATIE: My best girl friends. Since having kids we rarely get out together. It tends to be a twice a year thing when we drink far too much wine but mainly overeat. There’s nothing quite like being with bestest pals to let your hair down and unbutton the top jean button.
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
S: The kids and I are often first in line at the White Peaks Cafe in Kew Gardens. Great coffee and a beautiful place to spend the morning.
K: Orange Pekoe at the top of my road in Barnes. Skinny honey latte please. And then on to adventures down the Thames river path with bikes/ scooters/ piggybacks.
3. Best brunch with kids?
S: We are early risers in our house… so brunch is basically lunch. We like the Olympic Studios in Barnes. Plenty of space and yummy food. Scrambled eggs on toast all round and a delicious flat white, which is essential with these early mornings.
K: I lived in New York for a while with a small baby and they did brunches well. Or it could have been that small babies do brunches well (I suspect more this). We used to sit there for hours. Nowadays brunch consists of a bacon sandwich takeaway in Richmond park, or a playdate with another family at home. But if I had to name one actual restaurant right now, the prize would go to Olympic Studios for their Eggs Benedict.
K: Anything where the kids menu comes in at £5 or less, with a main and a pudding. Costing any more and frankly, they haven’t sussed the opportunity of thirsty parents and should be punished.
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
S: With kids you can’t beat a good old Pizza Express. It’s pretty hard to faze them and trust me, my kids have tried hard! Without kids, anywhere that will serve us a cocktail. Granger & Co. is my current fave – I just love seeing my mum friends without kids now and again so we can actually have a conversation…such a treat.
K: I completely adore any pub with a view. Alternatively mums love a Pizza Express or Giraffe. Mums are a huge opportunity for establishments that are usually quiet between 4 and 6pm. If you are one and want to offer a Mush meet-up with a special deal for Mush mums, please do get in touch
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
S: We live around the corner from a proper Italian gelateria – Bella del Gelato and it’s a great indulgence. Massive piles of multi-coloured ice cream they make every morning. Love it.
K: Frozen frubes, mini smarties eked out one by one.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
S: Always order their food first. With urgency.
K: Take a bag with a lippy and money. Otherwise in that handbag, pack it with: colouring books, pens, small lego bits, maybe some aquabeads and two story books (one per child!) Don’t worry if they are playing up- nothing a grazing plate of chips won’t solve, and we’ve all been there….
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
S: Take me out – don’t care where, just somewhere I won’t step on lego or be on constant alert for a baby crying. Please and thank you.
K: Wow- tough one. We have started doing food delivery meal plans with Gousto that make eating in almost more delicious than out, but I actively try to ask sweet and enquiring questions when out with my husband rather than grunt tasks at him, so I would say a date night a fortnight is pretty key to go beyond ‘it’s your turn to hang out washing’. Never a takeaway.
9. My earliest food memory…
S: Sugary penny sweets in a little white paper bag.
K: Being sent to my room because I didn’t like roasts. I became hugely defiant aged 4 about eating meat (it didn’t last longer than a few years) and I resolutely refused to eat. I spent most of the Sunday afternoon in my room sulking.
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
S: I’m obsessed with the transition of becoming a mum (ahem, the new Mush book – The Mumsition is out now). I think it’s something so powerful that unites women. So I’d have the bunch of new mums that I met whilst in Kingston NNU with my youngest earlier this year, all very different and all amazing. Oh and can Chrissy Teigen come too?
K: Sarah, Izzy, Rachel, Caroline, Laura. You know who you are. Shall we do Friday?!
Photo credit: Mush