Friday, July 19, 2013

The World of Tatty Bumpkin

‘A Day in the Life’ of a Tatty Bumpkin Franchisee

Dai Alford, Tatty Bumpkin Franchisee in Winchmore Hill, North London, reflects on ‘What she does all day?’

“Yesterday someone who knows me well asked me, “Dai, what do you actually do all day?”
That got me thinking and I realised there was a lot to tell! This was my day yesterday.....

Breakfast time

As my daughters get ready for school I pack up my car, the ‘Tatty Bumpkin Mobile’.
This week’s Tatty Bumpkin story is all about the sea, so I fill my basket with multisensory props to help little imaginations spark:

  • I have loads of sea shells, of amazing shapes and sizes, natural sponges, and interestingly nail brushes (the younger children love brushing their feet and hands with these).
  • My home made, bubble wrap, jellyfish are always ‘a favourite’ with the children, their parents and teachers.
  • Next to be packed are my blue, silky ribbons. The children love to ‘dive’ through these as we plunge into the waves on our sea adventures.
  • And, of course, we have the sea! This is a large piece of blue fabric layered with different textures of blue organza. I have sewn fish, sponges, seaweed and waves intermittently onto it to make it more interesting (I always have a summer sewing project on the go when I take time off in August to be with my daughters).

'The Tatty Mobile'


After breakfast 

I take my girls to school and then drive on a little further to my first class of the day. 

This is a half hour Baby Bumpkin session in one of my local nurseries. By now the babies all know me well and I love seeing their smiles and waves as they recognise Baby Bumpkin and me. Indeed Harris flapped his little arms at me this morning which made me smile.
Half an hour later it’s on to my next Baby Bumpkin session, in the church hall. This class has been running for 3 years now and I love it because the atmosphere is so calm and ‘laid back’.

I make tea in a proper teapot and put out the biscuit tin to bring a homely feel to the class. If their baby is unsettled or just does not want to ‘join in right now’ parents can soothe their baby whilst they watch for a moment with a cuppa and a biscuit. Once their baby has settled then they rejoin the class, everyone feeling happier!

We always end the session with our Tatty Bumpkin ‘Om Mani’ relax song. I love being able to give busy mums and dads the opportunity to  take ‘time out’ - even if it’s just for five minutes doing  breathing exercises. Increasingly I realise how both the babies and the parents enjoy this time and benefit from it. Whenever I put the ‘Om Mani’ song on, I just see parents visibly relax.


I leave the mums and dads drinking their tea and head on to an amazing school who offer ‘After Lunch Tatty Bumpkin’ sessions to any child in their infant school who would like to do it. The session is always jam packed, and this week we dive into the ocean with Tatty Bumpkin to find some little octopi. 

Listening to the Sea!

We have such fun trying to make ‘Puffa Fish’ shapes with our bodies and there is just nothing funnier than seeing thirty children trying to copy my ‘funny fish face’ impression!


My Lunch time! 

I take a quick break to eat my lunch, and then it is off to my next nursery.


I run four sessions at this nursery: Baby Bumpkin, Young Tatty Bumpkin (two – three years olds) and two Tatty Bumpkin pre-school classes. 

The great thing about the story sessions is they can be easily adapted for different age groups. Hence in the Young Tatty Bumpkin class we all enjoyed crawling after my wind up crab toys as part of the adventure, while, in the pre-school classes, we spent more time with the mermaids and sea creatures.

Nurseries tell me they can see a real difference in the children’s behaviour and confidence after they have been doing Tatty Bumpkin for a while and I just love to see the children getting more body confidence. At the end of the sessions the children shout “We Love you Dai!” and so I’m reminded, yet again, just how lucky I am to have found this job.


Afterschool club in an infant school is next, I spend an hour having heaps of fun whilst teaching twenty six children to be ‘Bendy, Giggle, Clever and Strong’. 

The other week a little girl from this class said to me “Oh no! I don’t want it to end!”  I always think that if I’m having fun then the children will be having fun too, so I enjoy going with the children’s suggestions, being as silly as a sausage at times! This week Tom wanted us to get on an underwater helicopter, so we did, the actions were wonderful! Children do have the most AMAZING imaginations.


Relaxing with the ducks!

I pick my daughters at 4.45pm and then we all go home for the juggle of dinner, baths, homework and bedtime.


Before I sit down in the evening I send a couple of emails to potential new nurseries and a do a quick phone call to the mum of a ‘birthday girl’ who has invited Tatty Bumpkin to entertain at her birthday party next week.

I also call Fran, my Tatty Bumpkin teacher who works with me. She has run Tatty Bumpkin classes today as well and I get ‘prop envy’ when she describes her homemade mermaid prop!

Finally I sit down with a glass of wine, with Facebook and Twitter on in the background for a little while. I catch up with some of the other ladies who also run Tatty Bumpkin franchises and do a little bit of social networking for my business.


I’m in bed by 10.30pm; happy that I’ve had another great day at work, proud of myself that I provide a good income for my little family and looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.
So I hope that answered your question “Dai, what do you do all day?” 

                                              In a nutshell, I’m busy having fun!”

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