Au Pair of the Year Nomination

Sophie joined our family last year at the beginning of August. We were looking for an au pair to help look after our 2 children; Thomas who was 6 weeks at the time and Alex who was 17 months old. We were quite keen for someone to start ASAP and Sophie was very obliging by joining us within 2 weeks of interviewing her. From the moment I interviewed her I knew we would get on. I was looking for someone who could hit the ground running, fit into our family with ease and befriend my 17 month old son who was very confused by the arrival of his younger sibling. Sophie exceeded my expectations on all accounts and I was genuinely taken aback with how quickly her kind, patient manner had put Alex at ease and formed a close bond between them.

Alex has health issues which means he is sick most of the time. This requires an extra level of care, from hygiene to play activities. It can be quite isolating and challenging as he cannot mix with other children so normal toddler activities are not possible, quite often there are long stretches of Alex being at home. Sophie has risen to the challenge, and is able to provide him with a safe and interesting environment, that is both stimulating and comforting. I often find them playing “lets pretend” or reading books, and I can see how content and happy Alex is. This is all on top of the nappy changes, the mealtimes, snacks, bathtimes, bedtime duties that come with looking after a 17 month old, including teaching him new life skills.

Sophie’s role is not limited to the care of Alex. She also helps to look after Thomas, my youngest Son. She has really got involved and actively helped in the sleep training and now weaning stages. She has developed a close bond with Thomas, his eyes light up when he sees her and he gives her the biggest smile. Again she helps me without hesitation with every aspect of baby care – nappies, feeding, weaning, and helping me to bottle feed Thomas; showing me that she is equally adept with the care of toddlers and babies, which I feel is a rare skill, especially in someone so young herself.

The aspect that I have found completely invaluable has been the support she provides me. Through the very difficult days when I’ve had little or no sleep due to Alex’s ill health and new baby demands she has been there to help give me some respite. She helps with the housework, the children, the cooking, and the endless laundry and ironing. No job is too much trouble. She contributes a big part to family life, sharing Christmas, taking Alex trick or treating for the first time, baking cookies and cakes Christmas and birthdays. She has genuinely become an integral part of the family. We eat together, watch TV together, and share and support each other’s goals – right now we are going to the gym together!

When you meet Sophie it is easy to see why she should win awards, such as Au Pair of the Year. She is a bright, intuitive, fun loving individual whose level of maturity belies her own young age. Confident and responsible, she is able to use her initiative to suggest and apply new ways to help. She often works long hours without hesitation, at weekends she happily helps with the children; the affinity she has with the children really comes across, and they love her. My friends children came for a Christmas party, they were soon sitting on Sophie’s lap ! She came to the UK without knowing anyone, and yet within weeks she had made a close circle of friends which she goes exploring with at the weekend.

We have greatly enjoyed having her as part of the family, and are looking forward to going on holiday together next year. She will be sorely missed when she goes but I know we will always have a place for Sophie in our life and hearts!

Au Pair of the Year Nomination

Laura has been an integral part of my family since January 2013! She is the most exceptional au pair and we have been very lucky to have her! The characteristics that make her exceptional are her willing approach and attitude (there is always only a smile on her face!), she is creative and fun (baking, arts and crafts and decorating the children's rooms with their fun creations, as well as face painting and card writing, taking photos and capturing special memories), she is kind and loving (the children love to hug her and always want to know where Laura is!), she is confident and uses her initiative all the time, she has made great contacts with many of the mum's at school and they also regularly tell me how great she is!, she menu plans and helps with lunch boxes, she teaches bike riding and bakes birthday cakes and has spectacular summer paddling pool and water fun in the garden! She helps me make my life manageable!

I was delighted to take Laura to New York and Rhode Islands on our family holiday, Laura is more a member of our family rather than an au pair and I have loved seeing her grow in confidence since arriving in the UK. She has made lots of friends and seen lots of places, she has joined the local drama and keep fit class and she has made herself at home! She keeps our home neat, tidy and clean and manages the laundry and I feel that she treats it as her home too whilst she is in the UK.

I don't think au pairs can be any better than Laura and we will all miss her when she moves on the next chapter of her life!