Town Hall, Bethnal Green By Becci @one.busy.mother
It may have been a rainy, grey, most wintery June day ever, but that didn’t stop us mamas mega mingling today, and what a mingle it was !
Jenny welcomed us all with her newly highlighted do (it looked gorge by the way Jen ) and reminded us that regardless of instagram following or fame, we are all as important as each other and that today’s ‘panel’ was not really a panel, but mums like you and me, who are grabbing opportunity and making an impact on the world with their coaching and knowledge in public speaking, leadership skills and dynamic listening.
First to grab the mic was the beautiful Shardine, having hot footed it to London all the way from Manchester, this pink suited little beauty had us all thinking about the connections we were making and what we would do with these new found relationships after today. Encouraging us to connect and to see the potential relationships in the room. Shardine had us all mingling with confidence to just be ourselves, owning who we are, speaking our truth and not to be afraid. The time is now for us and we need to just do it, make that first step, be who you want to be. If you ever need any tips or coaching for public speaking with ease, Shardine is your girl. She’ll have you oozing confidence and owning your fine self in no time at all !!! I’ve already contacted Shardine and I can’t wait to learn more.
follow Shardene @shardeneblake
Next up was the lovely Caz, passionate that we all need to remember that Motherhood holds its own value, it’s a huge act of leadership and we must remind ourselves that we are bringing up the next generation. That’s a pretty impressive job right?
Under Caz’s guidance, we sat, and grounded ourselves with our feet firmly on the floor and put ourselves in to a safe bubble of comfort and positivity. Saying only kind, supportive things to ourselves and silencing our inner critic. Understanding that she is there to protect us, but knowing also when to tell her to be quiet. Reminding ourselves that we are GREAT mums, strong and confident, we are good enough and can move forward in life with determination. Trusting ourselves and letting our inner leader guide us.
Caz has teenagers down to to tinies and I could relate to her on so many levels with the juggling act of different stages of childhood, and how feelings, emotions and development change family dynamics. What is important for us is that we learn to set clear intentions and know our value, we are advocate for our own children after all. Self care is a PRIORITY and should be enjoyed, guilt free. We have to look after ourselves. Caz .... can we have a coffee soon, I need to hear more of your soothing words of wisdom!
Follow Caz @drcaz_leadershipofmums
The lovely Karen of @hudini.coaching finished off our morning teaching us the art of DYNAMIC LISTENING. This is something that I needed to hear, sometimes when my brain is running over a million things, I’m guilty of not actually listening to someone and valuing the conversation I am having. Learning to breathe, respect and let them finish. I have set a myself a goal to practise this, we have so much to learn from each other. I want to take it all in. So feel free to talk to me anytime. I’m all ears.
Karen asked us where we all want to be and together we chatted about this, in fact you couldn’t shut us all up as usual at a MM when we are given the chance to chat :)
I just want to finish off with my thoughts of today,
I LOVE being around you ladies, meeting you all, hearing your stories, being inspired by your greatness, ideas and opinions and obviously seeing your beautiful faces. I leave every MM lifted and happy, knowing that I can’t wait to see you all again at the next one and a whole load of new faces too. What a mega mingle it was. What a great opportunity for us all to meet and support each other. Wishing you all a fab week and see you soon, until then let’s connect, I love a dm :)
Amazing pics as always by the fab @kellyreevesphotography
There are so many defining moments in my life but nothing, nothing, nothing could ever prepare me for the shock of finding out I had breast cancer. I was 38. My kids were tiny (4 and 2). I was nursing my mum through terminal and aggressive lymphoma. I was running a creative business, a content agency that employed seven women who all relied on me to be able to pay their bills.
October 2014. It was my husbands birthday. Rather than celebrating down the pub we were in the strip lit cancer centre.
“I’m sorry but you have aggressive breast cancer.”
In that split second life took an unchartered trajectory and changed forever. All I could think was a) how would I cope with everything I was juggling and b) how my kids might grow up without me.
But I learned how resilient I really was. I had to go through a mastectomy, radiotherapy and 18 rounds of chemotherapy. God, I hated sitting in that room, being pumped full of drugs - some days I had treatment on the same day as my mum, some days randomly sitting next to the butchers wife - as you do - making small talk like “how you doing today?” It was so weird.
My dad had already died, and watching my mum become more and more poorly and in the worst pain was literally one of the most heart-breaking times of my life. It was so unfair. Watching her die was the strangest and hardest thing ever but also a privilege. I literally had to go straight from the hospice the day she’d passed away to have my own chemotherapy appointment. It was all so surreal.
I was literally in danger of losing my sh*t.
Lucky for me I’ve never been conventional so when my husband suggested moving abroad to get away from it all for a bit, to heal and do something different, to live by the sea and learn a new language I took all of a nano second to say yes. The day after my last chemotherapy session we moved to Barcelona, bought a camper van (and named her Annie after my mum @anniethevan on Insta) and spent two and a half years travelling.
And all that sunshine, learning a new language and yoga on the beach opened up my closed and bedraggled heart. So I wanted to share the lessons I learned because what I know is that grief is really all about love. And I don’t hate cancer, in fact I have learned to be grateful for all these things it taught me.
1. When you’re faced with sh*t, your inner goddess makes an entrance.
Because we are all waaaayyy more badass than we think, it’s inside us all already. You, me, everyone. So, quite literally, grief and cancer have gifted me with the meeting of my inner self, and now I know she’s there, I know she’ll always have my back!
2. It’s not the time we’ve got, it’s the memories we make. Sharing a small van with kids might not be for everyone, but for us it works. We lived in 10square metres together for 6 months and covered 17 countries. Nothing beats the thrill of parking up by deserted beaches and cooking our dinner watching the surfers, or of road tripping around the Croatian countryside singing our hearts out with literally NO plan about where we are going to go next.
3. You’ve got to do what makes you happy. Not just on the surface but deep inside.
It was only after making a massive lifestyle change I realised working with major brands didn’t make me happy. My clients were the likes of Unilever, Jumeirah and Wedgwood. Little old me, a new mum who grew a business to multiple six figures. Success, right? But what I really craved was a deeper connection and I realised I could use all my experience to help other women, so I started my new business from a point of love.
4. There is NO love like mother’s love, whether they are here or not.
Losing my own mum as I was worrying about my own mortality was traumatic. But all this only made my love stronger. An elderly neighbour told me once that relationships still evolve after someone has passed away and it’s so true. I am grateful to have amazing people in my life but nobody will ever be able to look deep into my soul like my mum and my daughters can. That her love would flow down so freely through me into them. And even though she's not here, she still guides me unconditionally through life.
5. Grief is a powerful part of love.
It helps me see what is truly important. It shows me not to sweat the small stuff, but to crouch down tenderly and savour the simple moments. The kids crawling into bed with us in the morning, washing up in the sun by the campervan, waking up on a deserted beach, snogging my husband.
So when I'm knackered after being up with sick kids, or like now, going through a load of tests to check whether the cancer has come back, I hold onto these lessons tight because they have made me evolve and grow into the woman and mum I think I was always meant to be.
Ruth Hoskins (@ruthie_hoskins on Insta) - I'm a writer, podcaster and mentor to creatives as well as a mum of two girls and step mum to one (big) boy. I've just moved back to the UK after years of travelling and living in Barcelona. I'm about to launch an online course for creatives to find chemistry within their business. I'm obsessed with the 80s and dim sum.
Happy Mother’s Day to me. Or maybe not. It’s 6:01am, I’m awake, my son is having the mother of all meltdowns. He’s crying and I’m crying. This is why I hate Mother’s Day, there’s too much expectation. But I’m sleep-deprived and would desperately have liked a lie-in. That is all.
My bet would be that you’re reading this and assuming my son is a toddler - he’s not. He’s 7 and has ADHD. When you think about ADHD no doubt the obvious behaviours spring to mind such as hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Forget the misconceptions about bad parenting or naughty boys. ADHD is real. ADHD is a complex neurological disorder. It’s a hidden disability. It’s exhausting.
His insatiable energy knows know limits. He is like a Duracell Bunny, he literally never stops and has volume levels that are not for the faint-hearted. But that’s the easy part. The bit that most people have no idea about is the intense and volatile emotions that explode frequently without warning.
It’s like there is a mini caveman inside his brain, so when he feels any kind of emotional stress his parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, flooding him with adrenalin and causing him to get locked in Fight mode. Often, it’s hard for him to distinguish between feelings of anxiety and excitement so his angry outbursts can be triggered by positive experiences or events, as well as negative ones. Punishment is not effective for children with ADHD, so when he is in Fight mode, all I can do is calm and comfort him. These behaviours are impulsive. They are not deliberate. He’s not giving me a hard time, he’s having a hard time. But it is draining, soul destroying and utterly heart-breaking.
Sometimes it starts before I’ve even got out of bed in the morning. Then come nighttime, his anxieties are in full flow which often means sitting outside of his bedroom door until he falls asleep. By which point I’m drained and have no real break before it starts all over again. It’s 24/7.
It seems to take more and more from me each day. I’m struggling. But it’s my responsibility to help and protect him. Help he so desperately wants. I’m doing everything I can, but it is a slow process with no short-term fix and no end in sight. There’s no immediate solution. No magic wand. And I feel unbelievable gut-wrenching guilt for even saying this stuff out loud. The worst thing is the feeling that I’m doing him a huge disservice by sharing this.
I’m probably painting a really bad image of my son, because the reality is that he is absolutely not a naughty boy. He’s challenging. Oh my god he’s challenging. But he is not a naughty boy. He’s an incredibly sensitive, kind and caring little boy. A really sociable kid. ADHD is also his super power. He is bright, has an absolute lust for life and boundless energy which he channels into lots of sports to great achievement. He’s only 7 and was just awarded his 600m swimming badge. Then there’s his creativity. His imagination knows no limits. And when he draws, he has the ability to hyper focus, getting lost in his illustrations.
ADHD was diagnosed almost 18 months ago. The diagnosis itself was a shock as until then I thought I was just a rubbish Mum. For a brief window the symptoms provided explanation and temporary relief. But things seem to be getting worse. I haven’t spoken about it publicly until now as I’ve been so frightened that sharing this label with the world would make things worse for him. It’s only become aware to me recently how much of a hidden disability it is. He is not a neurotypical child, something I’m learning to recognise. So, I’ve been summoning the courage and confidence to write this. Because ADHD is real. It’s not an excuse. It’s not his fault. It’s a description of his brain. It’s unhelpful and unhealthy to expect certain things of him. So please don’t judge him, because he’s the boy I love most in this world. I just have to dig a little deeper.
Mother’s Day wasn’t a complete write off, I got to eat pizza and drink wine at tea time. But I’ve decided from now on it’s best not to distinguish it too much from any other Sunday. That way it removes the anxiety-inducing expectation for him, and the disappointment from me. But I’d still really like some sleep!
Claire Quigley Ward MBA Co-founder & Managing Director @from_pea
In spite of running my business for the last 10 years it is the last 3-4 years I have focussed on Instagram. I have grown my Mama Designs Instagram from less than 400 to over 51,000 followers in this time. I have done this organically and have found that it has made a huge difference to my business. I have found new retailers, collaborated with influencers and celebrities (who have discovered us on Instagram) , collaborated with other small brands and even done some influencer marketing myself.
Here are my top 5 tips for brands on Instagram. Firstly I should say that I love Instagram and I do spend quite a bit of time on there but I totally think that it is worth it and it has paid off for me (in the form of followers and also sales).
1. Collaborate!! This has been the biggest way I have achieved Instagram growth. This can be with other brands, similar target audience, so for me brands selling to parents (product or services). Collaboration can be in the form of creating images (product swaps), shout outs or even sharing discount codes. I recently did this with the Positive Birth Company, we have a similar target audience. I am pregnant and have been using their digital pack, which I think is amazing, so I have shared about this a few times and she has shared a discount code for Mama Designs. A simple and effective collaboration! Giveaways are another great way of collaborating. Although the algorithm seems to be picking up on wording in the copy and showing to less people as a result so lately I have noticed that giveaways are less successful than previously. Still a good way to be discovered and followed by more brands. Influencer gifting can be a great way for gaining exposure. Bigger is not always better! Research the influencer as some will certainly be more giving than others and you might get more from a smaller "micro" influencer. I would avoid paying for influencer marketing.
2. Be fussy with what you post! Could your picture go in a magazine? Is it good enough? This is you curating your own mini magazine advertising your products! I don't post pics if they are fuzzy, off brand or have mess in the background, or even if the colours don't work with my feed. If you want a curated feed that works together you do need to think about the overall look and feel of your feed.
3. Plan ahead! When I don't do this I always regret it. Having a week ahead planned is always a good idea and means you can take time to put together posts and copy (you can always add to the copy when you post). It means you can think about your hashtags etc. I have used Planoly in the past for working out what works next to each other. There is a downloadable Instagram planner in my online course which is really useful for this.
4. Create your own great content. Although you can share pictures from other people and other brands featuring your products, having brand new content is always good. You can easily create content in so many ways. Flatlays (whether you sell a product or not, just even items in your colours), shelfies, selfies or set up a scene / shoot at home or at a friend's house. Use friends for your pics, their homes, their children. I have been creating nursery scenes at home for years in spite of not having a nursery. You will be surprised by how many items you already have at home that you could create great posts from.
5. Be sociable!! It is called social media after all. This means replying to every comment you receive (and not simply liking). It means liking and commenting on other peoples content too. Not only does this connect you with that person (to a degree) but it also means more people are likely to see your name and discover you as a result. You want to be commenting on other peoples pics, who have a similar target audience. Also going to events (Mothers Meetings for example!) is a great way to network and be sociable in real life with the people you meet in these little squares. Don;t be shy it definitely pays to be sociable!
You’ve probably heard it before... When it comes to getting your business or social platform off the ground, it’s really not all about the numbers. Nope. A huge follower count doesn’t guarantee success! The trouble is: we all love recognition. Let’s face it, online, the more followers and customers who ‘get us’ and love what we do, the better - right? As a copywriter and brand strategist for kids and family focused brands, I keep my eye out for online marketing doing well among the mum crowd. What’s connecting, what’s converting, what’s attracting fellow busy parents and diverting attention from a sea of competitors... Whether you’re a blogger, an Insta influencer or you run a kids/family focused business, here’s what to do to attract other parents to your online presence and how to make them fall in love with you:
Be a mind reader Relatability is the easiest way to make connection online. Feeling heard and understood is LIFE GIVING, especially for the parent who’s spent the day only having conversations with little people! We all want to connect with others who ‘get it’. Get our lives. Get our struggles. Get our dreams. An understanding of who you’re creating content for will help you come up with relevant topics and ideas and help guide on when and where to post - boosting the chances of engagement from those who your content will resonate with.
You’ll know you’re on the right track when you’re getting comments like: “It’s like you read my mind!”, “I really needed this today” and “I was talking about this yesterday!”.
Be honest We all know those social media squares aren't truly a reflection of life. They're highlight reels. Glimpses of how we wish we’d see our life all the time, shared as a reminder of good times amongst life's true ups and down. But even though we all know this at the back of our minds, it's so easy to get sucked into comparisonsitis and find ourselves longing for unattainable and unrealistic lives.
Finding snippets of REALITY online is always a huge relief as a social media using parent. To see or read of other's imperfections and struggles is not only liberating, it's key to staying sane while digitally connected.
Next time you're not sure if you should reveal truths, share those opinions or tell that story because it reveals that actually life isn't always glossy, think about the followers who might need to know they're not alone and DO IT! Vulnerability is powerful. It lets others closer and helps empower those who also want to speak openly about their lives without the fear of judgement.
Be an encourager Speaking of empowering others, if you want to attract more followers and have a more positive experience online - be someone who empowers and encourages with your words. Be someone who shows others what's possible. Who approaches things with positivity, kindness and hope! There's so much negativity in this world as it is, online and off. Stand out as the creator of a space people want to be part of and focus on uplifting others with everything from your content to your comments. A sense of enthusiasm and love is irresistible.
Remember though, this doesn't mean you need to write everything with rose tinted glasses. Be honest, with a focus on overcoming or asking for help when you face your struggles. Who wouldn’t want to see more of this in their lives?!
Be silly Dance parties. Singalongs.Instagram filters. Behind the scenes playfulness... Whatever fits with your brand or life, do more of the stuff that makes you feel great. Us parents have enough responsibility going on, it's always refreshing to have a laugh as we scroll! And you know how it works, when we see something funny online it's natural to want to share it on.
Be of service It doesn’t matter if you're ‘in business’ or ‘in the business of growing a social media following’, being a helper is a great way to build a reputation. Think about what your parent followers need and make their life easier with what you do. Plan content that helps solve their problems or be of service through the advice and encouragement you give in comments; if you put being of service as a focus, recognition will follow.
Be an inviter Business owners, this one’s for you. The biggest obstacle I hear when it comes to business growth is the fear of... wait for it - making sales! Online success relies on strategically prompting and directing your parent browsers and presenting invitations to actually BUY. I get it. I’ve never been a fan of directly asking for money (shudder) and yes, I’ve felt the fear of coming across as spammy, salesy, money-grabbing. But ladies, we’ve got to remember the reason we’re doing this in the first place. For our children, for our families, for our own personal sense of achievement - making more sales is a must if you want to keep your business alive, and hoping people are going to find their way to the checkout doesn’t cut it if you want your business to fulfil its maximum potential.
The most helpful ‘reframer’ for me was to think of sales as invitations. There’s no forcing, no persuading... Just confident invitations to enjoy some of what you’ve got. Be that baby sleep coaching services or smart design kids swimwear, don't forget to invite your followers to take a closer look. They could just be desperate to hear more!
Looking for a stylish, cultural spot to take the kids!! Look no further.... LOCATED IN THE MAGNIFICENT NATIONAL GALLERY, THE NATIONAL CAFÉ IS ONE OF THE MOST CHARMING & ELEGANT RESTAURANTS IN LONDON, OFFERING ALL DAY DINING FROM HEALTHY BRUNCHES TO OPULENT EVENING MEALS.
We were kindly invited to try the new menu at the National Gallery but rather than one of the ladies at our HQ take up the offer we thought we would gift it to one of our fab mothers!! We could not think of anyone better to gift this great brunch to than Emily and James who has been going through an emotional roller coaster over the past 12 months, since their baby girl Willow aka Willow the WARRIOR was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease - Willow is about to approach her 1st birthday and they are overwhelmed that she has come along this far - she really is a blessing!! And the strongest lil lady in the world. So amongst the chaos of hospital appointments and health visitors, they got their glad rags on headed out to London's West End for a lovely brunch - both Emily and James are very creative (James designs restaurants for a living, so his review was going to be very critical - thankfully he loved every bit of the new menu and Cafe). Considering the location of the restaurant is within the heart of the city, the atmosphere was very chilled and super relaxing at the same time as stylish and very special. Their first born 5 year old Nancy Rose loved every minute too! With sooo many choices on the menu for the lil ones, there were thankfully no meltdowns!! So all around a lovely day out to a family that massively appreciated and needed it!!!
Designed by restaurateur Oliver Peyton, offers a modern, healthy take on all the brunch classics including shakshouka – baked eggs in tomato sauce with chorizo; duck hash with Clarence Court duck eggs, and chilli and acai bowl with bananas, peanut butter, homemade granola and fresh fruit. Fitting for spring, vibrant and light dishes include a miso salmon poke bowl with brown rice, pickled carrot, kimchi and seaweed; and the veggie-friendly spiced beetroot hummus served with labneh and seasonal vegetable crudités.
A dedicated kids’ menu is also available, including an array of breakfast dishes from pancakes to porridge through to toasted tea cakes and scrambled eggs.
With a brand new brunch offering and access to The National Gallery, The National Café is perfect for a full day out with friends and family.
MM invited Female Health mega Expert, Maisie Hill, to show us how to take control of our monthly cycles and use our hormones to enable us to get what we want in life... benefitting our health, career and personal relationships.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we knew our bodies so well, could read the way our hormonal cycle makes us feel, that we could use it to accelerate us through life. Taking advantage of our oestrogen charged days to take over the world!
I’m the first to admit that I have extreme rollercoaster highs and lows during my monthly cycles.
Mother Nature is pretty clever, she obviously wants us to get knocked up as much as possible. She makes us ‘glow ‘during our pre ovulation / ovulation days, fills us with flirtatious and playful hormones and generally makes us more attractive to be around (especially to the men, we even smell different and get more symmetrical ... yep really!) She surges our bodies with oestrogen, making us feel energetic, happier and makes our skin glow. She wants us to get KNOCKED UP. To appeal to our MEN. So, when we don’t go out and get our little playful, flirtatious selves impregnated our hormone levels plummet and we are left feeling like a sack of shit during pre menstrual and period time.
Maisie explains the female cycle as being like the four seasons
Winter - Menstruation time Spring - Heading towards Ovulation Summer - Ovulation Autumn - Pre - Menstrual
If we know which season we are in, we can plan our lives to fit in with how that ‘season’ makes us feel, empower our decision making and use the confidence of our ‘summer’ days to push ourselves and do our brave stuff!!
Our body gives us pretty good signals, but if you have trouble tracking your cycle, the app CLUE is the one Maisie recommends.
It seems all of us/ most of us can relate to feelings of rage, anger, stress irritability during our ‘autumn / winter’ We need to be a bit gentle on ourselves, practise some self love, give in to those feelings, take a quieter day and not plan so much, rest and retreat. Quite often, as busy women we carry on, not listening to our bodies and wearing ourselves in to the ground. Getting more stressed and tired, causing more stormy weather in our season. So try and schedule in some rest time, use it as a time to plan and ‘sow seeds ‘ ready for them to spring in to action in spring !! My family are going to get used to me saying,
‘Guys I’m in autumn, give me a break!’
We can all learn how to make the most from out hormonal, even just knowing what foods to eat to support our hormonal surges, or knowing that these crazy feelings we get at a certain time every month are completely normal, and to embrace them. We can take back control of our bodies.
I found this talk so interesting, I could write for hours, I just want to big us women up again to be honest. We are superhuman. Month in, month out it can be a real struggle for some of us, I recommend everyone get Maisies book, it’s out tomorrow on Amazon.
Let’s start listening to Mother Nature and letting her guide our schedule, plan our life, help us set our goals and tell us what our body needs, most importantly pencil in some ‘REST DAYS’
Ok Babes, so I’m currently in summer sand I am off out now to take over the world and post some of my easy recipes on my insta page to change the world of mum cooking !!
Have a great day all and remember #periodpower Get the book !!! Best £10 er you will spend this week xx
Mother’s Day Champagne Breakfast at Mulberry, 100 Regent Street with Mother’s Meetings & The FLOWERBX
Written by BECCI @one.busy.mother
Thursday morning took some of us lucky mamas to the new global flagship Mulberry store, for a morning of champagne, canapés and some flower arranging.
Mulberry, the largest luxury leather goods company in the UK, opened its doors to 100 Regent St in September 2018. The first Mulberry store to be revamped by Johnny Coca, his aim was to create and showcase the British character of the brand and give a ‘Welcoming home’ feel to the store. Antique ceramics, tufty rugs and pebbled mirrors mixed with pastel pink walls and stunning collections, he’s certainly managed to create exactly that.
We went downstairs to the room of the spring / summer 2019 collection. Colours popped everywhere, a mix of psychedelic swirls and minis inspired by Carnaby St in the swinging 60’s, mixed with English high tea party vibes, or even a little day at the races, George, Manager of the store told us that Johnny had drawn inspiration from British women and culture for this particular collection. Unique, eclectic and eye catching, I fell love with all of it. Don’t get me started on the sunglasses ( I so should have treated myself )
The smell of flowers filled the room and we were soon on our way to creating a tulip arrangement with the girls from FLOWERBX. I’ve always wanted to know how to create that ‘swirl’ and with the tips and demos I managed to perfect a little hand tied bouquet (alright I had quite a lot of help and realised I’m slightly heavy handed) but it looked beautiful and I got to bring home my vase of flowers, carrying it with great pride on the tube, it’s now sat pride of place on my kitchen table.
I know exactly where I ll be ordering my flowers from now on. The FLOWERBX. creates the chicest of blooms that can be delivered straight to your door, they are reasonably priced and guarantee that the flowers will stay fresher for longer. They also offer a same day delivery option. You can also subscribe to a regular delivery of beautiful bouquets to your door. Lets face it, we all deserve beautiful flowers. Check them out.
FLOWERBX are also happy to offer a Welcome10 discount code which offers £10 off any orders over £50.
So Mulberry has been quoted as wanting to create
‘A place to rejoice, discover, learn and connect’
Well we certainly ticked all those boxes. The atmosphere and buzz was just amazing and once again Jenny and Mother’s Meeting brought together and connected a truly inspiring bunch of mamas. I couldn’t think of a better place to hold a Mother’s Meeting or a way spend my morning, it was a real treat.
Junie Poonie (@junie_poonie) got us all asking Do you know how amazing you are ? With her beautiful welcome cards
Well I certainly felt amazing after spending my time with you all. I would like to thank @mulberryengland , @theflowerbx and @Mothersmeetings for a perfect Mother’s Day treat I hope you all know how amazing you all are.
Ps Jen, I wasn’t joking about asking the hunky waiter to come to all the future MM events ! Seriously his ‘topping up’ was on point and I think the other mamas will appreciate his efforts, just saying :)
Happy Mother’s Day all of you amazing mums, if you fancy treating yourself or your mum, Mulberry have kindly extended an offer for us all to take advantage ...see below for details See you all soon xxxx
A Mother’s Day Offer from Mulberry Why not go beyond a bouquet of flowers this year and pick up a Mother’s Day gift from Mulberry?
You’re sure to find something she’ll love at Mulberry as the brand’s leather goods have achieved iconic status for good reason. Don't miss the 60's inspired new season accessories and ready-to-wear featuring bold colours and modern floral prints.
Plus, if you spend over £250 in store on the 30th or 31st of March and you’ll receive a luxurious Mulberry lambswool scarf in a heritage check, designed and made in the UK. A gift for her... and a gift for you!
Imagine being at your best mates house, in the middle of practicing wedding hair styles, to then receiving a text from your husband saying there is a possibility we might be moving country, to then realise a week later it’s a definite and 2 months after that you would be arriving at your new destination, in the same year you had your first baby...
Hello and welcome to my life!
One year, two countries, a baby turned toddler, a career put on the back burner, new surroundings, two different languages; neither of which I could string a sentence together with, plus driving on the opposite side of the road... Oh, and of course trying to keep some ‘normality’ to everyday life in the midst of all of this.
Yes, this is me, Jazmin, my life, my family and our current year having moved abroad for a new life, living out our dreams and doing so before our little boy grows to old to do so, allowing us time to adjust and hoping enough time to get settled.
I love that word, ’settled’ I mean, are we ever?
When I first arrived in Switzerland (our first location) I knew this was it and I had to make it work. Otis was 8 months old and from the day he was born, even before that when he was growing in my tummy, I was determined to be that ‘mum’ who loved to socialise and took her kid along everywhere she went. I was determined not to ‘hold back’ on doing things, seeing people, going places just because I now had a mini human to look after, so I kept this thought through the whole experience.
I suddenly had... No comfort zones No friends No family No history with the place I was living A different language to learn, pick up on and understand New surroundings And even a new kind of supermarket that felt alien!
So I took to social media and used it like a new dating app for ‘mamas who wanna be mates with me’ and started scrolling through and finding groups! Groups within groups, pages of group activities, language groups based around mums having kids, groups who went to soft play, groups who met in the parks, you name it, I found it.
I introduced myself every where I became a ‘member’ of online. I became a name that would pop up, be commenting on posts I found interesting, to a point I had a few girls say ‘hey’ on a long lake walk I used to do (again to try hang at cool places and find friends; oh, that so makes me sound weird! Honestly I’m not! Ha!) until one day I had a message from another girl hoping to find a new friend too.
We hit it off, our kids hit it off and jackpot, I had a friend. The summer became one to remember, our kids grew together, we explored more groups, made our own groups and tried new cool ways to bring mamas together across Switzerland.
From here I created More Than Just Mothers - Inspired from MM of course! Sonny my husband, being a kick-ass graphic designer created me a look, image that attracted a vibe I was after. This then attracted a new bar with the what I can only describe as the best go-to parent and kids bar everrrr, who wanted us to hold our weekly meet ups there. Wow, they had started to ask me?!?
From here, Fridays were ours!
A morning, day, we all came together, kids played and mums chatted away over coffee, the best homemade chocolate chip cookies and on many occasions prosecco and wine! In and dated with new mums wanting to connect, More Than Just Mothers became a hit not just for expats, but local swiss mums also! Suddenly I found a new life in a town I classed as ‘boring’, yet it was me that just hadn’t met the right ‘group’ yet!
My name is Maria Evans and I coach and mentor teenagers. My Instagram account is @theteencoach.
Is there anyone talking about teenagers on the ‘gram? Just shout if you need anything else! There is no doubt that Instagram is a life-line for parents of young children, There is so much support for the challenges that parenting little ones throws at us. Whether you are looking for tips on breastfeeding or how to wean a dairy-intolerant infant, you only need to search the right hashtags and there will be a whole hosts of accounts waiting to support you through the next step on your parenting journey. This is not always the experience for parents of teenagers. It can be difficult to find people talking about the challenges of parenting teens on these squares. There are many reasons for this; teenagers aren’t always that ‘instagrammable’, teenagers are also online themselves, and would quite rightly object to you broadcasting your parenting woes to the rest of the world. My account @theteencoach is all about parenting the teen years. When asked about the one thing we can do to make this stage in parenting manageable and even joyful, I always reinforce the importance of finding their spark. Find their spark – what does that mean? Your teen’s ‘spark’ is the one thing they have that they care deeply about, that fires them up. If teens have ‘it’ then everything else falls into place. They have a reason to be motivated, they find a sense of purpose and belonging, they care deeply about something, they show up and are committed. Having a spark can also provide opportunities for kids. Recently ran a workshop on healthy relationships with social media to a group of teenage girls from various local dance schools. It didn’t take them long to figure out what their spark was-they had been dancing since they were little. When I asked them what this provides for them that social media could not I was inundated with answers; working with young children, starring in productions, traveling the country, keeping their body and minds healthy. These girls have had a wealth of opportunities because of the joy they have found in dancing. When I worked in secondary schools I would often come across kids who did not have any hobbies, interests or strong beliefs about anything. These were the kids who watched too much TV and spent hours on games consoles. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe kids should be allowed to watch TV and spend time gaming, it’s important for kids to keep up with their peers and have cultural capital. Most young people want to fit in as it makes them feel safe in this often vulnerable stage of life. But when too much time is spent on screens there is little time for anything else. What’s more, there is little desire to DO anything else. How has my experience with teens impacted myself as a parent? I am on a mission to give as many opportunities to my kids to enable them to find their spark. It’s difficult (but not impossible) for teenagers to take up a new hobby. They often start to feel shy and self-conscious when starting something new. However, if you catch them when they are younger they are often bolder and don’t really consider being the new kid as a problem. So yes, I am a chauffeur for my kids. I take them to various clubs and activities after school most days. We subscribe to First News, a weekly newspaper aimed at young people, to help our eldest get used to reading and learning about current affairs (a year’s subscription was a birthday present from his grandparents). He doesn’t always read it willingly, and would be happy to skip to the puzzles at the end, but we have it built into our routine now that when we are waiting for his brother and sister at their ballet class we read through the articles together. I do strongly believe that kids just want our time and there are so many ways we can give it to them. I have 3 children so it does require a lot of ferrying about, and it is expensive. I am very aware that we are in a privileged position to be able to do this; I work from home and we have the resources to be able to make this part of our rhythm. But there are loads of things parents can do that don’t cost anything. Cost effective ways to find their spark Helping your kids find their spark does not have to be expensive. It could be that a strong belief about something is the thing that fires your child up. It could be that they really love animals and care deeply about animal welfare. How can you keep that spark alive? Talk to them about it, help them do some research. Perhaps they could get involved in an organisation that campaigns for animal rights. Other things we do include taking them places at the weekend and we always try to keep costs low. We go to our local beach to play football, swim if it’s warm, and we always try and encourage them to do a five-minute beach clean and talk about why that is important. They love doing various arts and crafts projects. They love helping me and my husband cook. I struggle to keep my cool with these sorts of activities because of the mess that it inevitably involves, but I try my best to keep calm (this doesn’t always happen) and let them carry on as it is all part of the bigger picture- finding their spark. This may sound like we are the perfect parents. We are not! I am aware that this post may sound like I am a super parent. I assure you I am not. It has taken us a long time to get to where we are with this, and it hasn’t been an easy journey. There are many days in school holidays for example when I know my kids have had too much screen time because I have needed that break to just get through the day. My kids watch TV and play on the iPad every day when I am cooking dinner. They often have TV in the mornings when my husband and I are getting everything ready for the day ahead. Our culture likes to make us feel guilty about all the things we are doing and not doing as parents. When something goes wrong with a young adult, the parents are often the ones we blame. The guilt we feel about getting it right can be overwhelming; we can all be super hard on ourselves. All we can do is what is right for us and our families. Time away from screens and being shown other ways to pass our time is always a good idea. Life is always better offline Providing opportunities for our kids to see that life does exist outside of social media and screen time will show then that actually life is better offline. So if you have younger children then think about how you can lay those foundations in the early years in a way that fits best for your family. And if you have teenagers and you are still unsure of whether they have a spark then don’t lose heart. Keep insisting on that family time and talk to them about the things that matter to them. The spark is there, it just might need a little oxygen and fuel from you to get it burning brightly.