Meet the Annas
Ragdolly Annas was created and developed lovingly by Anna Everington and Anna Varone-Johnson in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire in 2011.
Meet Anna Everington
Anna E co-founded Ragdolly Annas with Anna VJ back in May 2011. Prior to Ragdolly Annas, my days were spent working in IT Service Management. I loved my job and the experiences it gave me. Then came my beautiful children, Austin was born in 2007 and Milly in 2009. My whole outlook on life changed, as did my priorities and I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to go back to work. After a few years as a stay at home mum, I needed to do something for me. I had met Anna VJ in my last role and as well as being a great work team, known as ‘The Annas’, we became great friends too. I had the idea of running my own business for a while as I wanted the children to remain my priority and decide my own working hours, but I couldn’t do it on my own. When Anna VJ called me to say she had, had enough ot the ‘corporate world’, I told her of my plan. Within hours she had sent me a list of her ideas too and then, as they say, the rest is history!
Nearly 10 years later, my babies are at secondary school and I am so proud of what myself and Anna VJ have achieved. Ragdolly Annas has exceeded our wildest dreams!
However, it is now time for me to move on to a new challenge and I hand over to Anna VJ knowing that Ragdolly Annas will continue to grow and succeed for decades to come.
Meet Anna Varone-Johnson
My old working life in the IT services industry seems like a distant memory now. May 2011 everything changed for me, I left the world of suits, deadlines, meetings, high heels and with my good friend Anna E we created Ragdolly Annas. Life is just as busy don’t get me wrong, however now with a job I love, that fits around my children, I never miss a school assembly, am always there to pick up my boys from school and no longer have the sense of dread that the weekend is over on a Sunday night.
There is not one day where I get that feeling that I don’t want to go to work. Running our own business has been challenging yet hugely satisfying. Working with children and being a part of their development whilst watching them grow in confidence, learn new words and bust out the dance move makes all the hard work worth it! Seeing the delight in their faces when their favourite song comes on and in some cases seeing their first steps, has been more rewarding than any job I have ever done. I love it!
Luca & Fred
I have two boys, Luca was born in 2010 and Fred in 2013. Both of my boys love music, and we always have something playing in the house, be it the latest Disney soundtrack, a Ragdolly Annas playlist or if I am lucky, a bit of “grown up” music.
Luca always enjoyed coming to Ragdolly Annas, and did regularly from the day we set up until he started school. He knows all the moves, words and actions, and even joined me on stage in 2015 at the National Play Day, which was a real treat for him and me! He has had three Ragdolly Annas birthday party so far, for his 5th birthday he had a rainbow disco, with lots of games, dances, ‘sing a longs’ and glitter tattoos! As a result of these parties I have also entertained at lots of his friend’s parties and even his school for their Christmas parties.
Like Luca, Fred attended Ragdolly Annas once a week before he started pre-school. Even though personality wise he is very different to Luca, the love of music and dance is something they both have in common. You will often find us at home having a “kitchen disco” where they take it in turns to request their favorite songs and bust out some moves! Luca’s music taste has developed somewhat as he has gotten older and now he favours pop songs (which is very useful for me when I am practicing at home for disco parties) whilst Fred is still a big fan of everything you would find playing at a pre-school Ragdolly Annas session. 5 Little Speckled Frogs gets played again and again at home – he doesn’t ever seem to get bored of it!! I often test out new songs and party games with the boys and they even introduce new songs to me which they have learnt at school and we have loads of fun practicing them together.
To be able to share my job with the children, to be able to fit my job around my children, to be able to take my children to work with me if I need to, really does make life so much easier for me and as a result we are a very happy family.