Did you always want to be a nanny?
Yes, I wanted to be a nanny ever since I went to see the movie Mary Poppins, I knew, at five years old, that I had found my vocation!
I loved everything about Mary Poppins, from the way she never had one strand of hair out of place, to the magical way she could tidy a playroom!
My Mum still remembers me being so disappointed when I got home to my bedroom and no amount of clicking my tiny fingers would put my unfolded clothes and scattered toys away!
How was school?
School was uneventful really, I did O.K. I did resent the lessons getting in the way of my social activities!
I wasn’t the “Pretty one” that all the other girls wanted to be, and not the “High achiever” or “Sporty.”
Wendy was the “Clown.” The “Funny one.” Everyone thought that I was hilarious, apart from the teachers who just didn’t get my sense of fun!
In 1975 I left school with an O level and a cycling proficiency badge!
The following September, I went to work as a T.A at a local nursery school and I absolutely loved it!
I’d cycle in at 8.30, play with the children and create amazing murals. Each day I would help the children with their counting and reading and teach them how to do up their buttons and shoelaces.
But I really wanted to be a nanny.
Nanny to the rich…
After a year at the nursery school, I joined several Nanny Agencies in the hope of fulfilling my dream!
In the meantime I had a lots of work from this advertisement in the local paper:
“Want to get out? Have a treat? Leave the kids, from under your feet?
Don’t bother Granny, call me, Super Nanny! I think it’s time we should meet!”
Then, out of the blue, a call from one of the agencies asking if I would like to join a family in Spain for 6 weeks looking after their two children!
After considering this position for about half a millisecond…it was “When do I pack?”
Oh my Giddy God’s Pyjamas!
How the other half live! I flew out to Formentor in Majorca and there met the loveliest family. We hit it off straight away.
(Their original Nanny had run off to Crete with one of the Four Tops…that’s another story!)
The villa that we stayed in was amazing and the children and I had our own maid!
We played all day by the pool or the beach and I taught them both how to swim.
The children loved to stay up late watching the tribute acts (minus one of the Four Tops) and we danced until the youngest fell asleep under our table!
I went on to stay with the family for four years and enjoyed many more holidays with them.
This is the youngest, Reza.
Who would have thought that he’s grow up to be Reza Afshar OBE
I am so proud of this young man!
In 1980 I went to stay with a family in New York. That was an eye opener!
The single mother was a Rock and Roll producer. Do you remember Chrissy Hynde and The Pretenders? She was their manager.
And the eldest child was Elton’s God-daughter!
They were wild times and instinctively I felt I had to protect those two young girls from the sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll that surrounded them on a daily basis.
It became too much for me and I wrote to their estranged father who came to take them to stay with him for a while in Up State New York.
I stayed on to look after the mother, she said that she couldn’t cope without me.
A week after the girls left, John Lennon, our next door neighbour, was shot dead and I flew home the next day.
So, why My Mood Stars?
Well, I still wanted to work with children. I married, had three children, Maddie and then 27 months later twins Josie and Michael.
Their father left, like they do, and I decided to become a child minder.
This was now 2000. Before Ofsted!
Again, I loved it. I built up a reputation for helping develop happy, secure kids who loved Wendy Woo, as they called me.
In 2014 the Department of Families and Education (Dfes) brought in the Early Years Framework. A statutory guidance for schools and providers.
It was then that the Personal Social and Emotional development became an area of learning.
This was very close to my heart for personal reasons I won’t go into right now.
I found this area of learning fascinating and wanted to more than anything help children develop in all these areas. I had always talked to my little ones about how they were feeling, and about what makes them happy, sad, worried etc.
Only now, Ofsted wanted this evidenced. So I set about making 8 little stars out of felt, each depicting different moods. Happy, Shy, Worried, Angry, Sleepy, Silly, Surprised and Sad.
I showed “My Mood Stars” to other child minders who loved them and I set about making sets to sell to them.
It was my Ofsted inspector who suggested that there was a market for a resource like this, especially for children on the autism spectrum.
I did a lot of research into the emotional well being of all children and decided to take my Ofsted inspector’s advice.
So I threw away the birch and locked the Chokey for the last time and decided to become an “Entrepreneur” Me? An entrepreneur? That’s too crazy!
Wendy Woo Limited
But entrepreneur I became and started my own business in 2018 – Wendy Woo Limited!
The Stars were made in China from a Velcro receptive material and they pop on and off their own my Mood Stars board. I wrote a My Mood Stars work book that helps non verbal children express their feelings.
I have since sold 500 sets of My Mood Stars and 400 books!
My Mood Stars are helping children identify and acknowledge their emotions as well as those of others through sensory play.
They are all over the U.K as well as in Brunei, Sierra Leone, Jordon, Canada and Australia!
I am delighted to have Bapn – the Association for Professional Nannies on board.
Thank you for reading this far! I hope that you have found this blog interesting. If you have any questions at all or would like to know more, you can get in touch with me through the My Mood Stars website.