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Just a spoonful of sugar

Mother-in-law's blown me out and the kids refuse another night with the sitter who falls asleep on the sofa...It's Mary Poppins to the rescue!

Actually, it’s a lovely cuddly Kowalah called Polly who flies through the storm and alights on my doorstep after I’ve panic-dialled their app and yodelled for a last minute replacement, but her bright smile and upbeat vibe (minus the umbrella and curled-toed shoes) are Mary-to-a-tee. Yes, we at Muddy are first to the party in discovering the fab-tastic Kowalah app, the latest in on-demand childcare.

Kowalah offer high quality, safe childcare at a moment’s notice, helping parents find, book and pay for trusted and interviewed sitters across the Cotswolds. Yada yada yada, you say, I’ve got a sitter, she’s sixteen and totally cheapo and if she ditches me for a smoke behind the bike sheds there’s always mum, but we say stop right there! This is an app that seriously deserves a snoop. All you need to do is download it and you’re off, booking school pick-ups, day time help, after school homework, evening sitting or, best of all, overnight stays. With an emphasis on the kids having a great time, these sitters will play, bake, read, throw water balloons…generally be anything but dull with your brood. The whole idea is seriously cool.

woman girl baking

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun

There certainly is with this lot. Polly’s instructions were: take my two to cricket (all Kowalahs drive), try and shove a burger down them at the end of the session (the youngest wangled two out of Polly without the older one noticing), get them home alive and in one piece and then entertain them with a baking session. Oh yeah, and then baths and bedtime and all the other c**p that happens in my house. Polly tackled this without batting an eyelid – confident and a whole lot of fun, she sent recipes in advance, planned the day and followed through with gusto. It was quite clear the minute she knocked on my door that my girls were in massively capable hands – in fact, they were spotted hugging Polly within minutes and declared her the best sitter ever by the end of the day. As Mary would say, she was practically perfect in every way.

And this is exactly where Kowalah comes into its own. In the Sharkey and George mould of babysitting, not only are the Kowalahs fun and energetic but they will organise long days of fun, including visits to Rush Skate Park, Cotswold Farm ParkMr Mulligan’s Lost World Golf, even the uber amazing KidZania. Or they’ll stay at home and craft, cook, run a whole blooming cricket tourmanent – anything and everything you can come up. Or leave it to them to create the fun…

Now, here’s a biggie – overnight stays

Love a lie-in? Check. Fancy a night away with Mr Muddy/my best buddies/on my own? Check all three. Or it could be a wedding, Ascot, Henley, a 40th birthday party where you reeeaaaallly don’t want little ones climbing on your bed the next morning. For any or all of the above, these are the guys for you. Extend your booking overnight and arrive home refreshed the next day with the precious ones dressed and breakfasted and, if you’re really lucky, having done all their homework too.

Supercool extras

Take a squint at their website and you’ll find local schools (yours might be there, others are coming soon) with profiles for Kowalahs who are already helping parents there, plus personal recommendations for someone great to help out with a school run or provide an extra pair of hands during the holidays. Plus check out their ideas for kids’ parties – we love the idea of Bring the Game Over, a mobile gaming arcade van that rocks up at your house and takes root in the driveway. Yep, that’ll keep them busy for the afternoon while I slug the rosé.

three kids thumbs up

Kowalah is currently available across the Cotswolds from Bristol and Bath in the South, to Cheltenham and Banbury in the North, but I expect world domination is next on the to-do list. Uh, will you have mine for the week, please?

Kowalah, tel: 0844 209 2955, email:

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