Say hi to Jess Sizeland, founder of Social Mama Hertford. Mum to two year old twins, Gus and Jude, Jess lives in Hertford with her husband, Brett, who runs a property management and development company. With two young babes, Jess frequented a myriad of maternity leave musts – soft play, sing-a-longs and sensory sessions, but whilst they stimulated her twins, she longed for more. A space where mums could meet, relax and muse over everything from motherhood to regaining a sense of self…Social Mama Hertford was born. Once the babes are in bed, Social Mamas get together to indulge in modern calligraphy workshops in Georgian drawing rooms or sip on a gin or two whilst kicking back for comedy nights with the likes of the fabulous Scummy Mummies. Get 13th March in your diary and join Social Mama + Kate from Cooking and Carafes for an evening of pasta-making and Italian wine pairing at Pasta La Vista, Baby!
This month we journey out to Hertford with Jess to explore the hidden gems of Hertfordshire for families (fit for double-buggies!) and high-street stalwarts she can’t live without…
1. I’d like a table for…
4 please. Myself, my husband Brett, and our 2 year old twin boys – Gus & Jude. Oh and space for our massive bloody double buggy, which never fits in ANYWHERE so we end up having to rearrange the furniture inside every restaurant and coffee shop we go to.
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
Hertford Coffee Lab. I honestly don’t know what I did before this amazing independent came to Hertford only a couple of years ago. The best coffee around, and always full of local mums. No matter what time you go in there you are guaranteed to bump into someone you know. Oh and the cinnamon buns…. if you know, you know.
3. Best brunch with kids?
Easy – Hertford House. We practically live here at the weekend. They do an amazing smashed avocado for adults, plus chocolate and banana pancakes for the kids and don’t get cross when the boys trash the joint.
4. Children’s menu must-visits…
We are big fans of the Nando’s kids menu – lots of healthier options to choose from, including sweet potato and corn on the cob rather than, big portion sizes (the twins can still share one meal between them), quick service and most importantly fresh food.
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
The big chains are always great for accommodating groups of mums & kids – Pizza Express, Ask, Prezzo, etc. There is also a great gastro pub just outside of Hertford – The White Horse at Hertingfordbury. It’s a gorgeous building, beautifully designed interior (very Insta!) with lots of room for groups too.
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
Perhaps more of a treat for us than the boys, but if we are up early on a Saturday morning (which let’s be honest, is pretty much most of the time these days), then we get in the car and drive up to Broadway Market in Hackney. The best street food, organic fruit and veg stalls and CAKE. But if this all seems a bit much then Pearce’s Farm Shop is only 10 minutes down the road and does pretty awesome treats too.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
Pack some snacks to act as ‘starters’. My two want to eat as soon as they are put in front of a table, so it’s always handy to have breadsticks or rice cakes to keep them happy whilst you are waiting to have your order taken. Also, don’t feel guilty about screen time – if it keeps them happy for 30 minutes and allows you to actually CHEW your food then do it.
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
Take me out every time!! Vietnamese is my favourite, and unfortunately living in the sticks means that the nearest place to get my Pho fix is Song Que on Kingsland Road. Most definitely worth it though, their Summer Rolls will make you weep tiny tears of food joy.
9. My earliest food memory…
I lived in Hong Kong from when I was 4-7 years old and I remember my parents taking us to a famous restaurant where pigeon was the only thing on the menu. So I know where I get my love of food from!
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
Michelle Obama for the smarts, Scummy Mummies for the lols, Beyonce because, well, Beyonce, Holly Willoughby because I think we would be great pals, and my mum because I definitely owe her a dinner.
For more about Social Mama Hertford and events for 2019 – click here.
Photograph credit: @ajburrowsphotography