Tracey Blake

I am an accidental entrepreneur!

I began my career as a journalist in contract magazine publishing and then moved to Associated Newspapers where I spent 12 years as a senior editor working on the Daily Mail, Femail, Mail On Sunday, Weekend, London Lite, Mail Plus (the digital editions) and at Metro. I still write a parenting blog called Small Talk on the MailOnline website.

During this time I also became a parenting author! In 2013 I wrote Small Talk: Simple ways to boost your child’s speech and language development from birth (Macmillan) with my co-author and friend Nicola Lathey. It was published in the US in 2014. In 2016 we wrote two speech-boosting picture books which were sold in M&S and have recently been published in Spain.

As a working my of two with a stressful job, I experienced the childcare crisis first hand when I couldn’t find any after-school help for my two children on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Childminders wanted to finish at 6pm but I didn’t get home til 7.30/8pm; professional nannies wanted a full day, not 4 hours. I was stuck and getting increasingly desperate.

Then I heard two students talking in my train station waiting room and I said, “Do you live locally and are either of you interested in some babysitting work?” One of them, Louise, said yes, we swapped numbers and after a chat at our house we hired her. Louise was an art foundation student and did amazing craft projects with the children so there was always something for me to admire when I got home. It was such a good fit for us that when Louise left I wanted to find another student but as a 40-year old woman I couldn’t reach into that network. So was born as a side gig in 2016!

I am now working full time on Student Nannies with a vision of making the juggle between being a parent and having a career just a little bit less of a struggle.