Ladybrille mom and dads, there is a new blog in town called Babes about Town that we think you will absolutely love! Babes about Town is a city guide and a social network blog connecting hip/urban mommies and daddies raising kids from 0-5years. The blog creatd by an equally hip mom is all about helping you break the “baby-go-round– nap, eat, shop, sleep cycle.”
Ladybrille Magazine’s Uduak Oduok caught up with Uju Asika, owner of the blog, as she tells moms and dads, “there is life after birth so get out there, recover your cool and rediscover your city! Read on!
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Uju I am excited about your blog because I have some really good friends that are now having babies or “baking one in the oven,” and they definitely want to still stay hip. (Laughs) So, I can’t wait to share your site with them and of course Ladybrille readers! Before we get into it, what does your name mean?
Uju: My full name Obianuju means ‘born in a time of fulfilment’, because I was born after the civil war in Nigeria, in a time of rest and plenty. So my name ‘Uju’ can be translated as ‘fulfilment’, which suits me fine. (laughs)!
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (Laughs) Indeed. Since you mentioned being born in a time of civil war, I assume you were born in Nigeria. Where exactly were you born?
Uju: I was born in Enugu, eastern Nigeria, a large town by some standards although we grew up in a fairly close-knit community.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Where you also raised there?
Uju: I was raised mostly in the UK, around London and the South of England but spent many childhood holidays in Enugu and Lagos, Nigeria.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What were you doing before your blog ‘Babes about Town?’
Uju: I’ve been a writer and editor for most of my adult life, creating, editing and producing content for print and electronic media including Salon.com, the Guardian, AOL City Guides, the UK film Bullet Boy and the reality show The Apprentice Africa. Prior to setting up Babes about Town, I was and I am mainly focused on mothering my two children, although I still do occasional freelance work for clients like Time Out (Visitor’s Guides), Storm 360 and a UK film and digital arts company called B3 Media.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Storm 360 is a familiar name here. Your two babes are they boys or girls?
Uju: I am the mother of two boys, Ezra who is about to turn 4 next week and Jed whose first birthday is also next month. I’m an Aquarian too so we’ve got February locked down in my house! I’m also a step-mother to Isaac, my husband’s 13-year-old son who lives in France with his mum.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Gotcha. Okay, so why do you feel the need to break the typical mommy routine? (laughs)
Uju: Well at first when you become a mother, it’s easy to get stuck on what I call the baby-go-round– that nap, eat, shop, sleep cycle. But as you grow a little more confident with baby, you want to get out there and do stuff. Also motherhood is a time that really stimulates the creative side and gives you loads of ideas. Babes about Town is a concept that I had three years ago and I finally decided to do something about it!
LADYBRILLEmag.com:Where do you find time to do anything but be a mom and raise your kids?! (Laughs)
Uju: (Laughs) Indeed, I think that’s a question that every mother asks herself. I don’t claim to have the answers only to say that it is a constant juggle – whether you’re a SAHM (stay-at-home mum), a part-time or full-time WAHM (work-at-home mum), or a mum who works outside the home – there’s always several balls in the air. And you’re always looking over your shoulder…at the time, maybe at your baby, mostly at your conscience! I think you have to just cut yourself some slack, find a schedule that works for you and make the most of spare moments – e.g. making notes at the kitchen table, writing once the kids have gone to bed . . . And every mum knows that nap time is your best friend.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (laughs) I have heard that a lot from friends. They can’t wait to have their babies napping. (laugh) What is Babes about Town all about?
Uju: Babes about Town is a city guide and a social network connecting urban mums and dads raising kids in the 0-5 age range. We operate a boutique lifestyle service for young families through our blog that helps track down and recommend cool things to do, fun spots to hang and eat, and stylish places and products to shop.
We’re also planning on running a series of networking events for new and expectant parents that will not only give them a chance to get out of the house, and out of their pjs (laughs0 but also allow them to exercise some of their pre-parent interests (arts, crafts, cookery etc.) as well as maybe learn new skills and make new friends.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: It sounds really fabulous. I think of Liz Lange and how both she saw a niche in the market place for pregnant women and you are sort of doing the same with a niche for mom and dads in that 0-5 bracket stage. Break it down for us some more. Who are your core target audience?
Uju: Our core audience is the local London mass of metropolitan mothers and fathers (and caregivers) of children from the minute they find out they’re pregnant to the time their kids start ‘big school’ and are finally out of the ‘babe’ stage. But beyond just preschoolers and their parents, we’re open to anybody with kids in their lives (godparents, grandparents, aunties etc.) and everybody with a GSOP (great sense of play).
One thing that makes us stand out from the typical ‘mama’ blog or children’s guide is that we’re parent-centric, so it’s not just about taking your toddler to the zoo, but actually finding activities and events that will appeal to the grown-up as well as the ‘Babe’ in you.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: I was just about to ask you what made you stand out. Okay, what would you say is the biggest challenge mommies and daddies face with their 0-5 year old children.
Uju: Where do I begin? Whenever anybody asks me to describe being a mother the best word I can come up with is ‘intense’. The good part of that intensity is stuff like unconditional love and just the wonder of watching them grow. But it can also be exhausting, overwhelming and, in the city, often an isolating experience. Growing up in the metropolis, there are loads of advantages culturally but you don’t have the support system that you might have say in a village community. There’s a lot of self-reliance and especially when you’re dealing with newborns or the terrible twos stage that can be tough. This is where the Internet comes in as an invaluable tool for reaching out to parents everywhere.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Indeed. I recall watching a show on Oprah a while back on exactly that point you just made. The lack of support system and being so overwhelmed. Let me take you a different direction. I know the blog is very much about being hip and stylish. Break down for us some of the blog’s features as our Ladybrille parents log on to find the support system they need.
Uju: I wanted the blog to have a trendy, aspirational yet accessible feel that would appeal to people who are not just parents but also individuals. Our readers might be foodies, fashionistas, eco-warriors, music heads, frequent travellers, artists, entrepreneurs, bar crawlers, fitness freaks – basically anything that makes up the modern, multicultural Londoner.
So we have a range of culture and lifestyle categories covering stuff like arts and events, restaurants and bars, shops and services. One regular feature is the Weekend Scoop sent out on Thursday with family-friendly picks for Friday through Sunday. Other features will be a regular parenting Q&A, interviews with notable parents (celebs, bloggers etc.), gossip and more.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: How are you appealing to the Ladybrille daddies out there?
Uju: In today’s society, parenting is a two-way street and Babes about Town recognizes that dads are ‘Babes’ too. We will be running pieces specifically targeted at dads and their unique parenting styles. Just this week I wrote the piece ‘Daddy-long-throat’ – a check list of hot products for new dads.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: I read that. It was a pretty creative list. Clarify for us, you are based in London but for our Ladybrille Magazine mommies and daddies in the USA, France, Spain and other parts of the Western hemisphere, how exactly can they be down with Babes About Town?
Uju: We’re London-based but the beauty of the web is how it draws people in from everywhere. I like to say that we have a local flavour and a global appetite. That means we’ll be covering events, stories and products from all over the world and we will also be doing regular ‘stopovers’ in other cool, cosmopolitan cities to find out how those parents do their thing overseas.
Also many of our major competitions and give-aways will be from international brands who are happy to ship to other countries, so nobody’s left out. And of course the core message of our site – i.e. there is life after birth so get out there, recover your cool and rediscover your city! – is universal.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Thanks Uju!
Uju: Thank you to Ladybrille and thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read this interview. I do hope you’ll enjoy the blog, be sure to subscribe for regular updates and to be the first to know about our upcoming contests and such. We’re on Facebook and Twitter too so hit us up! Also we’re always making improvements so any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks again.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: You are welcome.
Visit babesabouttown.com for more info.
~Interview Uduak Oduok