Grow your Ebbsfleet Garden CityEbbsfleet News2021-09-06T09:06:43+01:00
Welcome to our blog
Hidden gems of Ebbsfleet Garden City
We are in September; how did that happen?! This summer feels as if it has flown by.
As you have probably worked out by now from my previous posts, I love a bit of community spirit – I’m really digging it. A few weeks ago, I made it my mission to reach out to local businesses here on the development and unearth some unique small businesses that have been formed since their owners have moved to Castle Hill. I was really surprised with response I got, there were so many and unfortunately, I can’t mention them all (but that is not because I don’t want to, my word count limits me). I wanted a real mix to showcase what is right here on our doorstep.
As I writer/blogger, I naturally love the virtual world! so to start off my hidden gems, I want to bring your attention to Time Matters.
Michelle Payne started Time Matters PA Services almost a year ago now, it was the perfect opportunity to work and be there for her children, to Michelle being present is important (shout out to all the working parents), she provides a service that offers herself as a virtual assistant, somebody who supports small businesses with their day to day, time consuming but necessary admin (I am sold). Michelle covers anything ranging from inbox management to social media scheduling.
I think before lockdown the job of a VA was extremely underrated and partly misunderstood, fast forward to a new world of working from home and most things moving online, a VA is golden.
After spending time with Michelle, she is probably the most organised and professional person I’ve ever met, and I wish she did life management (like how to cope with meal planning for a fussy toddler) – I’d use her in a heartbeat. Michelle is the networking queen and feels that a network event for small businesses at Castle Hill is something we need, and I agree. Imagine the community collaborations.
If your business needs streamlining or you need help moving forward, you know where to go!
I love meeting passionate people! Rupa is one of them. She is the owner of RSA Discovery, a science education business that provides science tutoring for an age range of 6-19 years old. The service also offers educational consultancy with Rupa producing educational activities and science workshops to spark curiosity (I love that!). Rupa started RSA from her love and genuine passion for science, she wants to make the subject as creative and fun as possible. Rupa embraces the community spirit on the development, she describes it as vibrant and supportive, especially if you have young children.
Lockdown hit education hard, but recommendations on the Castle Hill Facebook page have helped move RSA Discovery forward with over a third of her business coming from the development. Making connections with residents has led to work serving the local community, not just Castle Hill. Being part of a community has also helped Rupa understand what help is needed and the pressure on both parents and pupils. Making learning fun is important!
Get Some Positivity
I love love love this small business and the idea behind it. Quang Hart’s small business Get Some Positivity creates affirmation/ motivational cards, the idea is to cultivate a positive mindset (I’m all up for that) and offer some support on your outlook on life. Quang’s small business was born out of the Covid-19 furlough scheme, giving her time to think and pursuit something new and channel her creativity. Living in a community like Castle Hill has its benefits, Get Some Positivity offer free downloads to residents and through this Quang has had some great feedback from residents, the Castle Hill Facebook group has been a platform for exposure as well as local events offering stall holder opportunities.
The affirmation cards are not only for adults, but they also have a beautiful little range for children. With the new school year starting, these will make the perfect little gift to boost confidence ready for your little ones first day (I’m adding some to my basket). It’s so lovely to think that something someone has lovely created may be in your home and that person may even be your neighbour!
I wanted a range of hidden business gems, and this one was my important find. The last 18 months have been stressful on all of us (to say the least). There have been so many life changes, how we socialise and interact with our loved ones, it’s felt so isolating. It may have left us feeling empty and questioning the direction we are travelling in.
Mimi Makina is an occupational therapist and a specialist mental health specialist mentor. She started a spiritual coaching business offering coaching for personal development. Mimi has always wanted to create a business to help people in their spiritual journey. She started studying spiritual counselling last year and through her diploma felt it was time to start offering services. As she is already a mentor, she figured it was time to combine my skills before fully transitioning into a spiritual counsellor. Mimi started her business during the pandemic but feels that it did not impact her business and mentoring online was smooth, the great thing about it is her services are easy and accessible online. It’s so lovely to know these services are out there because they are important.
Custom Building Developments
Dean Clancey owns Custom Building Developments, a business that offers anything from roofing, domestic electrical works to garden makeovers. During the lockdown when we were all home and dreaming of the endless possibilities our of gardens being a peace haven, Dean and his team were out grafting, in all weathers! (The snow at Castle Hill seems like it was years ago).
Over 20% of Custom Building Development’s work is from this development alone, but Dean admits it’s probably a lot more than that. The power of word of mouth is hard to keep up with. Happy customers upload photos of his work and positive reviews on the Castle Hill Facebook page. The Castle Hill Facebook page can be a brilliant platform for small businesses to expand and be recognised, it’s not all parking doom and gloom on there.
Dean happily offers a no obligation quote, which is one of their redeeming features, there’s no pressure! What’s lovely is walking around the development you can see examples of his work, it’s like having a real-life catalogue, so if it’s a pub in your garden or a new roof, call Dean!
I need to create a directory because there are lots more small businesses on Castle Hill, I’m feeling a part 2 coming on in the near future!
I’ll be back soon,
Here today, gone tomorrow
Hello! I am writing to you from the comfort of my sofa, where I have spent the last week with my leg up! I was on holiday in sunny Whitstable, one of our favourite places! I decided to head out on a morning run (something I have learnt to love and really enjoy, even as I am writing this, I can’t believe it either ha-ha), out on my run I fell down a hole and broke my ankle! My smart watch told me I had completed my fastest ever kilometre, I’m not sure if I should be smug or not. So here I am in a moon boot and demonstrating the most fashionable limp. My kids think I am hilarious going up and down the stairs on my bum and my little girl said she liked the boot so it’s a no brainer really. If you see me hobbling about the development do give me a wave!
The sun really is teasing us, blink and you will miss it. I don’t know what to make of this summer. The only good thing to come out of it is, we started growing some vegetables, a project I was convinced would crash and burn. All the rain has resulted in our first tomato! It was tiny but very red, exciting, eh? (I guess there isn’t much going on in my house at the moment), we are now all deciding on what we should do with our one tomato?! Lol. I’m not too sure on the other veg yet, we can only hope.
But we move on (slowly), the six weeks holiday is now in full swing! How did that happen so fast? I needed to adapt my to do list with my two because trampolining and swimming are off now. Something I have wanted to do for a while but had not really got the chance to was drive over the new Springhead Park bridge! It is sad but I love finding new driving routes, it breaks it up and it’s a good job we did! We found the Springhead ‘cool’ park as my daughter named it. I liked it, it reminded me of some sort of futuristic playground, we had a great game of Spiderman and Batman climbing through the nests (obviously I was the one keeping a look out for Capital America). My son had his first experience of a swing and there is a lovely green space behind it for a runabout. We spent a good hour over at Springhead and it was lovely being somewhere different that still felt familiar to us. After our local experience I am on the look out for more little day outs and I’ll keep you posted.
I had been on a mission to declutter, with all the spare time on my hands I decided to look through my cupboards and wardrobe, a bit of a spring clean. I came across a fantastic local enterprise, the Dartford Repair café. The workshop runs the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month at Tree community centre, their ethos is don’t bin it – see if we can fix it. Encouraging the community to bring along small items and as a team have a look at repairing them, learning new skills, and meeting people. I am a massive fan already, I love recycling and upcycling and this place is reducing the amount going to landfill, which is golden. Check them out!
Last time I was here I said I would be back with a guide to small businesses, it’s almost finished, and I am excited to share, so keep your eyes peeled.
Stay safe and Take care.
Why does it always rain on me?
As soon as we said hello to the sun, and basked in its glorious rays, it was snatched away and replaced with rain. The grass may have needed it but I’m totally over it now! If like me, you have had to dig out your long sleeve t-shirts and even possibly a cardie, you will want something nice to look forward to. We are heading towards hopefully our last Freedom Day and there is talk of yet ANOTHER heatwave (how long it lasts is anyone’s guess).
If you are a football fan, this month has been a rollercoaster of emotion. Euro 2020 has given us a lift, me and the kids have especially enjoyed all the flags around the development and the sense of community, we are coming together to support our country (especially on match days, the roars can be heard all over Castle Hill). The Elephants have had a flag makeover and it’s now the highlight of our walk to Nursery. Are we coming home?! – after the last year we have had I hope so. Let’s see how we get on this Wednesday; it’s going to be a tense one. COME ON ENGLAND.
Somebody who has been brightening up the rainy weeks is Julia Laughton whose famous fabulous rock painting has out done itself, if you had a chance to see her work in Mercer Avenue it really did put a smile on my face. The hungry caterpillar, one of my daughter’s favourite books is living in the front garden along with all the food he has eaten, it was very exciting for the kids. The caterpillar is in memory of Eric Carle who passed away in May We can’t wait to see what Julia does next.
On Friday, me and the kids went along to Coffee Morning in the park held by Ebbsfleet Baptist Church, it’s a favourite of ours and we look forward to it every Friday. Nothing stops a good old cup of tea not even a chilly afternoon, and today we were lucky because the sun came out for us! If you are a stranger to Coffee Morning – don’t be!
The coffee morning prides itself on being the friendliest gig in town and it is! I remember nervously going along 2 years ago with my first child and panicking I wasn’t going to know anyone. I was completely new to the area, let alone the development. I was so glad I went, by the end of the session, I was chatting away, I felt so at ease seeing so many friendly faces giving me a reassuring smile. The best bit is I made some lovely friends and its great knowing people on the development; they may know things you don’t (like when the new pub is opening… I’m joking no-one does!?).
Coffee morning is cross generational, and their main message is just making people feel welcome. Living on a new development can sometimes be isolating and you may not have got to know your neighbours yet especially with the pandemic, this would be a great way to pop along and say hello. Whether you are working from home, retired or just feel like having a chat, it is for anybody who is free during the day. There are activities and a song time for babies and pre-schooler and even nibbles!
Friday’s coffee Morning were supporting the NHS Big Tea, a fabulous cause championing our heroes at the NHS. The official Big Tea party events are happening on the NHS’s birthday today! Monday 5Th July. You can get involved by donating or brewing a cuppa and talking over a slice of cake. Over the pandemic lots of neighbours living on Castle Hill were frontline staff and the Thursday night’s banging pots and pans were our out pour of love and support for them were special.
I will be back next time with a guide to small businesses here on Castle Hill.
Make sure you explore Ebbsfleet Garden City this summer
The sun has finally made an appearance! We can all step outside and enjoy some well earnt vitamin D. With Freedom Day on the horizon and for some of us, working from home is the new norm, looking after your wellbeing this summer is important.
In this blog post I am sharing my tips for wellbeing living in Castle Hill.
The Book Exchange –
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are” – Mason Cooley.
The Book Exchange has made its way to Castle Hill, located outside the Community Centre. You may be a book worm or so busy you could not possibly think of picking up and book and reading it. Challenge yourself, try something new. If like me, you have some great books lying around and fancy a new read pop down and swap, or simply take a book and give it a go. I am guilty of really enjoying a book and only reading it once for it then to collect dust. Trying something new is my first top tip, it is so easy to be stuck in the same routine and moving out of your comfort zone may seem scary, but it is pretty exhilarating. Reading can often be seen as boring, but it is just the right amount of escapism you may need.
Walking – These boots are made for walking (flipflops if you are going this week), nothing can boost your mood quite like going for a good old-fashioned walk. If like me, you have children, it is more like a full-scale mission trying to leave the house with everything you need and in one piece – but it is worth it. My second tip is walking, we are so lucky to have open spaces on the development for walking. A walk really can boost your mood and set you up for the day. For those of you working from home try a ‘fake commute’, chose a route around the development and have a lengthy walk before starting work. The newly opened pathway that runs down Castle Hill Drive behind Norman Lane is a great shaded spot for walking in sweaty weather, it is a lovely downhill walk finishing by the Co-op. If you are lucky enough, you may have a brief encounter with our new local celebrities, the ducks. If you would prefer a walk where it is a little flatter, cross the road at the top of Castle Hill Drive and enjoy the gravel path surrounded by grass, with newly installed children’s play (my kids love this), the path leads to a Grow Your Own Project just off Mercer Avenue. There are lots of things to catch your eye around here.
Picnics – Deciding what to have for lunch everyday can sometimes be repetitive, my third tip is go for a picnic. A favourite spot for us is at the Elephant Park (the park located at the front of the development), the big open green is perfect for chucking a mat down and enjoying some lunch. Getting some fresh air and a change of scenery at lunchtime can break up the day. Picnics do not have to be soggy sandwiches, they can be little works of art (stay with me), swap crisps for breadsticks and dips, spruce up sandwiches with sourdough bread and for those of you with little one’s fruit muffins are a good alternative to melting chocolate. Having a picnic can be a social too, a chance to catch up with a friend under the current restrictions.
Exercise – my last tip is exercise, now this might be the last thing you are thinking about, it is already sweaty enough as it is without throwing in exercise, but it is those feel-good endorphins you are after. If you do fancy a bit of light working out, try going early morning or evening so you are not out under the full beams of sunshine. I joined a Couch to 5K group (run by Ebbsfleet Sunday Active) 9 weeks ago today, if anybody had told me I would be running I would have laughed them down, the thought of squeezing myself into gym wear and running alongside a group, out in the open!? – no chance. BUT I absolutely love it. Penny Marsh one of the lovely run leaders describes the group as a “friendly running group where no-one gets left behind – we aim to make our sessions fun and suitable for all abilities” – Penny is absolutely right, running is fun!
Sunday Active will be back very soon with sessions on Sunday mornings if you fancy trying a group exercise, which also includes walking, check out their Facebook page Sunday Active – Ebbsfleet for more information.
If running is not your cup of tea, and it is not for everybody, there are plenty of other fitness activities to do here on the development. If you want something a bit more chilled, Yoga and Pilates with Emma is available at the Community Centre every Tuesday evening from 7.15pm. Emma’s classes “seek to bring a sense of well-being to both the body and mind and can leave you feeling more content and at ease with yourself”. Emma emphasises that everybody is welcome – this is on my list to try. For more information check out – yogaandpilateswithemma.co.uk.
My last tip is to just enjoy the summer, after the last year we have had enjoy the little things!
Stay safe and thank you for reading.
My first blog
Hello and welcome to my new blog, Grow – Ebbsfleet Garden City. This blog will be a pocket guide to life in the Garden City, exploring the neighbourhood, fitness, wellbeing and family adventure.
My name is Katie, I have been living in the bubble of Castle Hill for 2 years with my partner, two children and we love it. I moved here from South London without knowing a single soul in the area, my life now is worlds apart. With new homes going up all the time, I feel there might be a few of you out there feeling the same.
One of the key messages to my blog ‘growing’ is the ability to grow as a person too, living in a vibrant ever evolving area is fun and exciting, but self-care and love is important to. Throwing yourself into a community like this one (ain’t no party like a Castle Hill party), is sometimes just what you need. I will be covering wellbeing and how to utilise the space here at the Garden City.
The last year has been tough for everybody, I feel so grateful to have had safe, open walking spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, I think I have walked down every possible road and pathway on the development over the last year. So, it definitely is an exciting time here, lots of new phases and plans to expand, and I am right here waiting to see and use it all. I am still reeling from the opening of the new Co-op; a packet of chocolate buttons has never been so easy to eat when it is right on your doorstep.
With lockdown restrictions being lifted and the promise of sunshine on the horizon me and the kids cannot wait to get out again!
Join me on my adventures.
I am fine with this