@barneyandwilf

It’s #MumBag and #MumBoss #Monday where some very talented and interesting women let us into their minds and their bags to see their inner workings.

This week we have a pair of Mums who have come up with one of those genius ideas that is also really simple, like the best ones always are.

Cat and Jen met at NCT and became good friends. When their kids started nursery they found themselves drowning in all the artistic creations they came home with.  Not having the heart to chuck them out and also not having the wall space to show it all, they started to scan and digitally reproduce the images and make stylish poster prints to show them off.

ahp-08-dv0a9670

At first they made them for family and friends and they were a real hit; so they decided to give it a go as a business and BarneyandWilf  (named after their boys) was born. Two years on and they are winning Design Awards and featuring in Tatler.

I caught up with these two inspiring ex City-girls to see how they got to this point:

jen-and-cat-laughing-1

What does your business do in a nutshell?

Cat and I create poster prints out of children’s own artwork. We found ourselves in the position where we were being overloaded with lovely/ crazy things the kids had created each day at school and nursery, but having it stuck on the walls just created clutter and we had nowhere to store it all.  Plus we didn’t have the heart to throw it all out. So we came up with the idea of digitally reproducing the images into little squares, fitting 24 to up to 90 pieces onto a poster you would actually want on your walls, and then we could throw away or store the originals guilt free. Lucky for us the idea really caught on with parents as it’s something all Mums and Dads face. And the modern framed grid collage looks contemporary enough to have anywhere in your home.

When did you start it and why at that time?

Cat and I did NCT together and, as our youngest sons were about to turn 1, we had had so many comments about the prints we had made for friends and family we decided to give it a go selling them properly. With tiny children, it took another year to get going, and the boys, Barney and Wilf, have just now turned 3.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Fitting it in around the children who were so young when we started. We used nap times and evenings to get things done and relied on Cat’s husbands amazing IT skills to get a website going. Also as we both have backgrounds in the City so getting up to speed on digital marketing and the Instagram and Facebook world have been learning curves.

What has been your proudest moment?

Winning a Junior Design Award and being introduced at school as the mum at school with ‘that genius business idea’. It makes it really worthwhile (even if its really not as glamorous as it sounds!)

ahp-04-dv0a9612

What is your best mum hack for making it all work?

Wine! And working in the evenings. It’s not for everyone I know, but I’m used to working late from my banking days. I literally cant get anything done if my children are in the house, and now the naps are a distant memory it really is the only time I can get any work done. It’s quiet, you can drink wine and there’s nothing worth watching on the TV anymore.

You seemed to have found your ‘thing’ – do you see it that way?

Both Cat and I agree we have been really lucky to find a unique business idea which has taken off and addresses a gap in the market.  So, yes, to a certain extent we have found a niche, but I would also say we did stumble upon it during those hazy, sleep deprived baby years, and would be keen to try other businesses in the future now we have found our feet a bit.  But we are still very much a new business, and as the saying goes you get luckier the harder you work.  It has been quite a struggle getting up and running with such young children at home, so it’s not for the feint hearted.

What encouragement would you give a mum thinking of starting her own thing?

Give it a go and be brave.  Honestly, everyone is blagging to a certain degree. Coming from a background in Corporate Banking in the Middle East my skill set couldn’t have been more different, but Cat and I sent a few emails and genuinely loved our idea, which I think rubs off. Before we knew it people were ordering prints and featuring us in magazines and blogs.

Also something Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka) said which I really took on board, was keep the activity going, and I definitely find this works. If sales are quiet, just keep sending emails to people who could help you, posting on Instagram and generally interacting with people and building networks. We might not sell a print, but we will make a relationship, attend a function, make a new friend with great insights…its all part of building a business and makes you feel like its ticking along. Working alone can be lonely so expect quiet times and use friends or family as sounding boards.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take it all so seriously!  In my previous career I was in such a rush to achieve achieve achieve, that I never took stock of where I was or asked enough questions of the people around me. Now I have been forced to slow down with 2 young children and working on my own small business I have realised what’s important in life. I moan about it at 7am but I really do like that I can take the children to school and be the one to pick them up most days.

Will you show us your #MumBag?

Number of items in your bag: 10

Mark your #MumBag out of 10 for:

Entertainment: 6  A Thomas train and a favourite book. We are never far from a train with Wilf around and he played with this very patiently waiting at the doctors surgery the other day (and probably picking up every germ possible!)

Food: 0  Complete snack fail today. Probably why my children are so awful in public! Must buy snacks.

Drugs: 8 Currently fighting the dreaded lurgy going around, Lemsip is my friend. And 8 hour cream for everything.

Clothing: 4 Spare monster pants for Wilf. Always. Bless him, always far to busy to be bothered to go to the loo. And always baby wipes, to assist in the aforementioned accidents.

Skank: 6 Receipts, hair ties and a dry cleaning ticket from 2015 (inside my wallet)

Actual nice things for you: My lovely Jem and Bea MAMA bag with a few bits of makeup. I always have a few bits for after the gym, when I ever get there. We met Jem and Bea at a Mums The Word meet up in Tunbridge Wells and it was great to chat to a business further down the line to us. They were generous with their time and contacts and make the miost beautiful bags.

What is the most comedy item you have found? Annie’s latest artwork handed to me the other day. Her face stuck to a bumble bee. However she is white blond and the way she has cut her head out makes her look completely bald. I did have a giggle.

What is the oldest item in there? A couple of those receipts probably. Oh and my coin purse from Marrakech. The blue leather is so old and battered but I love it and reminds me of fun travels.

What is the item you’re most proud of? Rich gave me my bag when I had Annie, and I’m most proud of the fact that despite it being cream I haven’t completely trashed it yet.

Describe your baggage-type:  I definitely err on the side of messy, but every now and then I get a bit OCD and have a big clear out. But yes, hoarder most of the time.

Let’s see it then:

fullsizerender

Thank you for reading x

Follow Mrs Yellow  on Instagram

Mrs Yellow supports PANDAS FOUNDATIOwho support mums with PND.

If you like what you’ve seen and want to help a good cause you can text PAND45 £3  (or £1, £2, £4, £5 or £10)to 70070. Text costs amount donated plus network charge. PANDAS Foundation receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission.

Advertisements

@minisettlondon

It’s #MumBag and #MumBoss #Monday where some very talented and interesting women let us into their minds and their bags to see their inner workings.

When Jess Bahia’s  baby daughter started to sit up by herself, she realised that Mala could do with a comfy little chair of her own to sit safely in for her bottle/ book/ snuggly time without falling off.  We’ve all heard that awful thud, let’s face it.

unknown

After looking about for something suitable the only options she found were big, plastic, pink and covered in characters which was totally NOT what she was after.

Jess had an idea for a mini kids sofa, spotted a gap in the market and the idea of Mini Sett was born.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-22-18-33

They launched in 2016 with 3 mini ‘flip’ sofas that are made in stylish neutral colours, screen-printed in the UK with line-drawn animal illustrations (Badger, Swan and Kingfisher) and are 100% washable premium cotton.  They have a pocket to fit a favourite book and handle so they can be pulled around with ease and are designed for children aged 6 months to 7 years.

I caught up with Jess to find out how she got to this point:

What does your business do in a nutshell?

At Mini Sett, we design and create contemporary home-wares for children that complement any stylish modern home. Our first product that we launched in 2016 was our kid’s mini flip sofa; perfect for reading, resting and watching their favourite film that sits perfectly in any stylish living room or children’s bedroom. In 2017, we’re launching a new, beautiful children’s bedding range, featuring our unique animal designs in grey and white and monochrome.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-22-34-58

When did you start it and why at that time?

Summer 2016 was our initial launch at Dot to Dot London – but we started 9 months prior with extensive product development, testing and refinement. The timing seemed right, as my daughter was doing 3 full days of nursery, which finally gave me some uninterrupted time to think, plan, meet suppliers and work on my laptop – alone!

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Finding a screen printer in the UK who could deliver the print quality of our intricate hand-drawn Illustrations on soft cotton fabric that can be machine-washed, without losing the design detail.

What has been your proudest moment?

Featuring in Tatler magazine alongside other premium British brands.

You seemed to have found your ‘thing’ – how did you come across it?

I have worked in brand and product development for over 15 years for big branded companies and a few small ones and I love finding opportunities in the marketplace for new products, new consumers, new usages, and thought why not create my own products.

Why home-ware? I have also always loved home-wares (worked in home-ware retail for 5 years back in Australia when at University (20 years ago – yikes!), and have always loved beautiful products for the home.  Plus when I had my first child I felt that there was very little available in the way of modern, stylish home-wares for children.

What is your best mum hack for making it all work?

Work in small blocks of time – usually 2 hours. Allocate time for thinking and working on a key priority everyday. I tend to work best in the morning after the school drop off.

I also only check my emails first thing (before my daughter gets up, whilst in bed!), then again at lunchtime and before the school pick. I close down my email program otherwise I get too distracted and could just spend the day emailing  which is not very productive.

What encouragement would you give a mum thinking of starting her own thing?

Just go for it. Find something that you passionately believe in and are proud and enthused to tell people about everyday. You’ll never work as many hours and for as little money (at first) as you do your own business, so you have to love what you do.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Ask more questions. Find out more about how and why things are done when at work. When you’re young and inexperienced, you tend to think you know everything already (I know I did!) and that asking how or why, may seem stupid.

Be open to constantly learning and asking questions from your boss, more senior people around you and your parents. People love sharing their experience and imparting their knowledge with younger people. This is invaluable learning.

Will you show us your #MumBag?

Number of items in your bag: 20

Mark your #MumBag out of 10 for:

Entertainment: 10 – Usually just my phone.  My 4 year old daughter is obsessed with Snapchat, so that trumps any other form of entertainment

Food: 4 – muesli bar, fruit pouch, Mint polos, random sweets that have fallen out of their packet, bottle of water.

Drugs: 0 – I don’t have anything.

Clothing: 0 – I’ve never carried spare clothes – I’m an unrealistic optimist who is often cold or with a child with muddy clothes!

Skank: 3 – Always a dirty tissue or dried up used wipe, crushed biscuits or old raisins.

Actual nice things for you: 6 – concealer, red lipstick, hand cream, hairbrush, a small perfume

Work things: 7 – paper diary (I’m old school), felt-tip pen (I cannot write with a biro!), a notebook, business cards.

What is the most comedy item you have found?

Yesterday, I found the detachable mouse tail from my daughter’s One-sie, that she wears after swimming lessons – so random.

What is the oldest item in there?

My Mason & Pearson pink hairbrush that I was given by my mum, when I was 4!

What is the item you’re most proud of?

My notebook – it’s a little book of random ideas and creative inspiration.

Describe your baggage:

Unrealistic Optimist.

Let’s see it then:

FullSizeRender.jpg

Thank you for reading x

Follow Mrs Yellow  on Instagram

Mrs Yellow supports PANDAS FOUNDATIOwho support mums with PND.

If you like what you’ve seen and want to help a good cause you can text PAND45 £3  (or £1, £2, £4, £5 or £10)to 70070. Text costs amount donated plus network charge. PANDAS Foundation receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission.

@raising_women

It’s #MumBag and #MumBoss #Monday where some very talented and interesting women let us into their minds and their bags to see their inner workings.

Johanna Rossi is based in Monaco and lives there with her husband and two kids aged 8 and 4.

mm-01

She has started Raising Women as a way to support entrepreneurial mums to create a life they love.

Her website is a community of like-minded women sharing their stories of self discovery through motherhood via podcasts where she interviews her guests about their pasts and how they’ve got to where they are now.  They are an inspirational read and listen as well as being totally accessible as you realise that they are normal mums doing their thing. You can also read Johanna’s very honest personal story here.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-14-42-11

Johanna is also a Holistic Health Coach and mentor and offers 1:1 sessions to help women find their voice and some structure after being buried under everyone else’s needs in the early years.  She also supports Care International (who provide CARE packages to people recovering from war) through the sales of her awesome Tees and Tote in her shop.

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 14.52.35.png

The #MumBoss Questions:

What does your business/ do you do in a nutshell?

I support women to balance motherhood with becoming who they were meant to be.

When did you start it and why at that time?

I launched in September in 2016 after refocusing, stripping back and rebranding my original business.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Self doubt.

What has been your proudest moment?

One day someone asked my son what my work was all about. He said that Mum helps people to stay healthy and happy – he got it!

What is your best mum hack for making it all work?

Forward thinking and pre-planning. And leave room in your schedule for the parenting curve ball.

What encouragement would you give a Mum thinking of starting her own thing?

You don’t have to climb the whole mountain at once. Do your best with the time you have, and step-by-step you’ll get a better view of the journey that you are on. The climb is the best bit and it is important to stop every once in a while and take in the view!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry about looking for a job, think more about who you want to help, what changes you want to make and how you are going to do it.

You have found your thing, how did you come across it?

Actually through my journey I’ve come to believe that the ‘thing’ we look for doesn’t really exist. What does, however, is how our acceptance for our life and the path we are on.  Accepting who we are and what cards we were given.

The people who appear to have found their ‘thing’ haven’t arrived at a destination, they are like everyone else who is searching, yet they have accepted to embrace the path they are on, and focus on all the good stuff that is on their path.

I believe finding ‘your thing’ is all about seeing what is already there with a new outlook that comes with a change of mindset. Energy flows where focus goes, so when we focus on creating meaning in our life we automatically create an energy which causes us to shift in a fundamental way.

Will you show us your #MumBag?

Number of items in your bag: About 10

Mark your #MumBag out of 10 for:

Entertainment: 6

Food: 6

Drugs: 10 homeopathic kind! 😉

Clothing: 3

Skank: 7

Actual nice things for you: 3

What is the most comedy item you have found?

Not many laughs had from my bag, but definitely had some surprises in the form of squashed bananas and stolen lipgloss that one of my little people managed to negotiate out the shop under the radar!

What is the oldest item in there?

My keys!

What is the item you’re most proud of?

My polaroid camera

Describe your baggage-type:

Functional

Let’s see it then:

img_2450

Thank you for reading x

Follow Mrs Yellow  on Instagram

Mrs Yellow supports http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk who support mums with PND.  If you like what you’ve seen and want to help a good cause you can text PAND45 £3  (or £1, £2, £4, £5 or £10)to 70070. Text costs amount donated plus network charge. PANDAS Foundation receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission.

@chloelovestoshop

It’s #MumBag and #MumBoss #Monday where some very talented and interesting women let us into their minds and their bags to see their inner workings.
 –
Today’s #MumBoss has probably got one of the best black books in the TV industry as she spent 17 years as an HR/Talent manager at Endemol, filling the production jobs on their iconic shows.
 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A year ago she left the role to spend more time with her children (Now 11, 9 and 4) and started a blog and an Instagram account called @chloelovestoshop to give herself a reason to ‘keep making an effort’ in the mornings and to share her #OOTD and her amazing knack of finding high-end looking pieces on the high street.
 –
One year and TWENTY THOUSAND followers later and Chloe’s passion has turned into her job. She lets us in on how it’s all come about …

What do you do in a nutshell?

I am a mummy fashion blogger. I blog about fashion and lifestyle and collaborate with brands that I love to wear.  My plan is to design my own range of clothing one day.

When did you start it and why at that time?

I started it a year ago, when I decided that I needed to spend more time with the children at home. Three children and a full time office job was proving too difficult, and I wanted to find something that I could fit in around the children’s school hours and try something that would get my creative juices flowing. When you have done the same job for 17 years, it’s tricky to feel invigorated by what you do. I needed a change

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

I didn’t expect things to take off so quickly, so my biggest challenge has been trying to fit it all in. It’s turned into a fairly full time ‘job’ but I am also full time with the children, so I have to try and fit everything in while they are at school. When I worked in an office I switched off the minute I walked out of the door (most days) but when you live your life through social media, it never stops! (That’s not a complaint, I love it, it’s just tricky to find a balance sometimes)

What has been your proudest moment?

Hitting 20K followers on Instagram has been a very proud moment and being asked to collaborate with big brands that I love has also made me proud. But I am probably most proud that I have not missed a single assembly, concert, netball match or competition this year. I have found a career that means that I can be there for the children whenever they need me.

What is your best #MumHack for making it all work?

Getting up an hour earlier than everyone else! When I do this, it makes a huge difference to my day. That hour of thinking through what I need to do without anyone asking something of me is golden. However, there are plenty of days that I don’t do this and I am very often chasing my tail and dropping balls!

What encouragement would you give someone thinking of starting their own thing?

Don’t be afraid to give it a go. I always think it’s better to look back on life and say ‘I can’t believe I did that’ than to say ‘I wish I had done that’.

We have one shot at this thing called life, and you have to do things that make you happy. Sometimes, that means taking a few risks. But when you take risks you feel alive and if they don’t work out, at least you will know you gave it your best shot. Be prepared to work really, really hard. But when it’s your own thing, you have all the energy and passion that you need to keep going, so it doesn’t always feel like hard work.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Believe in yourself more. I am still full of self-doubt and it can hold you back sometimes.

 

Will you show us your #MumBag?

Number of items in your bag: about 25

Mark your #MumBag out of 10 for:

Entertainment: 8 (earphones and an iphone! Not pictured I was using it to take the photograph!)

Food:2 ( 2 polos!!)

Drugs:0

Clothing: 3 (1glove and a hat)

Skank: 6 (tons of old receipts)

Actual nice things for you: 6 (makeup and hand cream)

What is the most comedy item you have found?

A pair of pants that I had used to hold my hair up in the shower and realised just before I entered the school. I took them out and popped them in my bag and they stayed there for quite a few days…

What is the oldest item in there?

My nail clippers

What is the item you’re most proud of?

My Chloe purse. I treated myself to it with my (little) Christmas bonus at work a few years ago.

Describe your baggage-type:

Being a fashion blogger means that I change my bag most days. So every time I change it, I tend to clear it out so it is usually OCD. However, if I use the same bag for a few days I very very quickly become a hoarder.

Here it is:

img_1496

Thank you for reading x

Follow Mrs Yellow  on Instagram

Mrs Yellow supports http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk who support mums with PND.  If you like what you’ve seen and want to help a good cause you can text PAND45 £3 to 70070. Text costs £3 plus network charge. PANDAS Foundation receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission.

@The_Double_Mama

It’s Monday. And I’m starting #MumBag and #MumBoss #Monday where some very talented and interesting women let us into their minds and their bags to see their inner workings.

First up it’s Siobhan Miller aka @the_double_mama, a 31 year old mum to 3 boys (aged 10, 2 and 10 months) who quit her career in digital marketing to teach hypnobirthing. She founded The Positive Birth Company to help pregnant women and their partners prepare for a positive and empowering birth.  She teaches in London and Devon and has helped first time mums through to fourth time mums, whatever type of birth they’re having.

sm-web-5

When did you start the business and why at that time?

Back in 2013 I decided to leave my digital marketing career to pursue something more fulfilling. I wasn’t entirely sure what that something was but I knew I wanted to work with people, adults preferably, in some sort of therapeutic capacity. I enrolled to do a psychology masters at Westminster University with the intention of becoming a counsellor or clinical psychologist.

In 2014 whilst studying and pregnant with my second baby, I discovered hypnobirthing.

I did a course will Hollie at London Hypnobirthing, embraced the practice, and went on to have a completely magical homebirth. My son was born in front of the Christmas tree and I felt incredible, like an actual superwoman!

It was the polar opposite to my first birth experience. My eldest was born in theatre by forceps after a 2 day induction with lots of interventions. I had an epidural and couldn’t feel anything and the overwhelming emotion at the time of his delivery was panic. So hypnobirthing really did change everything for me.

The summer after my second son was born I completed my degree and it was one of those moments in life where the universe seems to align and everything seems to fall into place. I was searching for something meaningful to do, had an interest in and understanding of human psychology, and had just experienced something amazing that I felt all women should get to experience.

So in 2015 I decided to train to become a hypnobirthing teacher. I did my training with Katharine Graves and that’s where it all began. I started teaching couples privately initially and now I teach small groups. I absolutely love what I do. Hypnobirthing essentially is the psychology of birth and so it feels like exactly the right thing for me to be doing.

I’ve also subsequently had my third baby. Another boy! Again I practiced hypnobirthing and he was born in the pool at the birth centre. I finally got my water birth. It was so peaceful and calm and I was able to catch him myself. It was such a perfect moment.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Running a business is far more demanding than I initially anticipated. It’s been a big learning curve. I might only teach for 12 hours in a week but I easily clock 40 hours plus doing everything else.

I often work late into the night, finally falling into bed at 2am. The thing I’ve found most hard is trying to do it all.  It’s only me and it’s full-on and I’m often learning how to do  the design work, the branding, the marketing, the website development, the accounting ‘on the job.’  Finding that time when you’ve also got three children and, until very recently, zero childcare is some juggling act.

What has been your proudest moment?

The incredible feedback I get from the couples I teach after they’ve completed the course and again after they’ve had their babies gives me goosebumps. I’ve always wanted a job where I felt I was helping people and now I’m finally doing that and it feels pretty amazing.

I’m also pretty proud of the fact I’ve had two babies in the last 2 years (there’s 15 months between the little ones), completed my masters, qualified as a hypnobirthing teacher and got my business off the ground. I’ve no idea how I’ve managed it.

What is your best mum hack for making it all work?

Ha – I wish I knew! I don’t know if there is a way to make it all work. Most of the time if some area of my life is going well e.g. the business; then I feel like the other side of my life is being neglected e.g. my kids. I’m striving for that magic work/life balance but it’s pretty elusive.

However something that definitely helps is having a partner who is willing to raise the children with you. If it wasn’t for James I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. This weekend for example he is with the 3 children whilst I’m away teaching in London. Things aren’t always rosy but we do make a good team and I’m proud of the fact our kids see us both switch equally between working and being ambitious and being at home and nurturing them. It’s a modern set up and I like that.

What encouragement would you give a mum thinking of starting her own thing?

You GREW and BIRTHED an actual real-life HUMAN being. You are a superwoman. There is literally nothing you can’t do.**

**My disclaimer would be that you’ve got to be prepared to put in the hours and sweat and tears. It’s hard work behind the Instagram-pretty scenes.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Probably wear shorter skirts and more crop tops and have less inhibitions.  When you’re 30 and you’ve got 3 kids and everything is saggy you’re going to wish you had appreciated that body more.

I don’t know what else. I don’t believe in having regrets. Rubbish stuff has happened but I believe there’s always a reason for it, even if we can’t see that at the time. So often in retrospect you can see that something bad happened which put you in a situation where then something wonderful happened. I try and see everything as a learning opportunity and focus on the positives. I’m definitely a YES person.

Will you show us your #MumBag?

Number of items in your bag: about 25

Mark your #MumBag out of 10 for:

Entertainment: 7 – It would appear I’m pretty good at carrying entertainment for myself like a magazine in the hope I might get to read it if the babies crash out at the same time (Very rare). I always have my phone and my work with me, which I’m always to get on with. I haven’t got any entertainment in my bag at the mo for the kids (bad mama). Unless snacks count as entertainment? Do they??

Food: 8 – I always arm myself with snacks for the kids when leaving the house because in my experience it’s the quickest way to bring things back from the meltdown brink. But I usually forget snacks for me and nobody likes me when I’m hangry….

Drugs: 10 – I carry an Epi-Pen so I’m always armed and ready!

Clothing: 0 – I don’t tend to carry spare clothes anymore. A risky strategy I know. The kids usually end up pretty filthy by the end of the day but with 3 boys I can barely keep on top of the washing as it is, without multiple costume changes.

Skank: 4 – I will admit that I sometimes I do find a mouldy tangerine rotting at the bottom of my bag but today is ok. The mini Milka have been hanging around for months but are probably still edible. Oh but there is that stash of miscellaneous receipts hidden in the gold clutch…

Actual nice things for you: 8 – I always carry a red lippy and I love the little mirror I got when I had my ear pierced at the Maria Tash studio. Hand cream from L’occitane is pretty nice and because I have a subscription to Living and Grazia I always have a mag to hand. Oh and I LOVE my new Tiba+Marl bag, so that’s a pretty nice thing for me.

What is the most comedy item you have found? An empty packet of migraine tablets. I carry it around empty instead of throwing it away to remind me to get some more…

What is the oldest item in there? The Milka which *may* be from the summer hols when we went to France and has just been moved from bag to bag since.

What is the item you’re most proud of?   Probably my work folder. There’s loads of stuff in there I’m working on. I’m speaking at some upcoming expectant parents events with Mothercare and so I recently designed a banner for my stand. I’m not a designer but I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.

I’m also pretty proud of my Tiba+Marl bag. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Anna and Lydia who set up the brand. They are both mums and they work so hard. They do everything between them and are such a great team. They only launched just over a year ago and are already stocked in Harrods and have an exclusive line with Selfridges. This bag is from their new collection with Mamas and Papas. They’re absolutely bossing it.

Describe your baggage-type:  Scatty. I have a few Tiba+Marl bags so I regularly switch between them. Which means I have multiple bags on the go with different bits and pieces languishing in each one. It’s all a bit of a disorganised mess to be honest.

the-double-mama-mumbag

You can find Siobhan at  www.thedoublemama.com and http://www.thepositivebirthcompany.co.uk

Thank you for reading x

Follow Mrs Yellow  on Instagram

Mrs Yellow supports http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk who support mums with PND.  If you like what you’ve seen and want to help a good cause you can text PANDAS £3 to 70660. Text costs £3 plus network charge. PANDAS Foundation receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission.

#MumBossOfTheMonth – Nicky Clinch

Five years ago I was freelancing at the legendary Mother advertising agency. Nicky was the super-efficient and glamorous PA to the four partners.

Every 6 weeks the company liked to move all the staff around so people didn’t get too cliquey or stuck in their spaces.

I was missed off the floor plan and the only space left was in between Nicky and one of the big cheeses. So we ended up next to each other. What a happy accident that was.

I had never met anyone with so much energy, glossy hair and glowy skin. She seemed to exist off plants and something called almond milk. This was all new to me back then. But she was an effervescent picture of health; running 5 miles before work and being the life and soul of the office. She was getting something right.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 14.50.17

At that time she was also studying to be a Macrobiotic Chef, Nutritionist, Life Counsellor and Specialist Healing Cook at the International School of Macrobiotics. She had also just met a new man.

I was quite low and had been struggling to get pregnant for over a year so she suggested that I could be one of her ‘guinea pigs’ for her studies. We had a session that covered my physical and emotional state and she made some simple suggestions to changes in my diet and life-style. 2 months later I was pregnant. And she was in a relationship with said man.

Five years on and Nicky is a full-time Macrobiotic Chef, Counsellor, Teacher, Blogger, Instagrammer, Public speaker, #MumBoss as well as being married to that man and has a beautiful daughter.

Me & Teia1

We have kept in touch and championed each other’s new ventures, so it seemed fitting that she should appear here.

As we are talking, she is effortlessly creating the most delicious lunch for me  as practice for a live cookery demonstration at The Natural Foods Show.

Where are you right now?
I am at a time in my life when I am starting to realise that anything is possible. All the things I dreamed about years ago are not impossible to reach now.
I am still teaching my 6 week course, I have launched a new half day workshop about what our cravings are telling us: Stepping away from emotional eating to empowered eating.

I’m also starting to do more public events, beginning to share my story and talk about topics such as how eating plant based has become sustainable to me, seasonality, cooking for children as well as cooking demonstrations, my supper club at Daylesford , writing for Neal’s Yard, Planet Organic and writing my book.

How have you got to where you are now?
It sounds like a cliché but step by step and one day at a time.

My first step when I qualified 5 years ago was to build my 6 week course. I started teaching before I was ready which I would advise to anyone.  I needed to do it before my baby was born.

I then had Teia and had a year off. The next step was to get back to teaching again.
On my next course I met the soon-to-be owner of Tiosk – where I then went on to be head chef.

Everything has been very synchronistic. A student of mine had a breakthrough and put me in touch with an agent. I met my publicist through you. (Me: I introduced Nicky to my talented friend Jess at Bang Talent).

Doing this as a mother has been a really interesting gift for me as I can only do it this way, one step at a time.

No matter how much I love my work, Teia will always be priority.

First it was 3 days a week, then 4 days a week. Motherhood has softened me, it’s a good thing. It has made me more playful, more creative, forced me to take life less seriously and really benefited me.

Would you/ Could you have done it pre-Teia?
I think I COULD have done it but I think the way it has happened is the way it was meant to.
I wonder if I would have tried too hard, I might have shot myself in the foot; been too ambitious, not had enough balance. Got divorced.

The week I think is the most important in my work life, Teia will get chicken pox and I will have a week in pyjamas watching Frozen. And I’ll think that is actually what I needed. To rein in my ego and keep me humble.

What made you start when you did?
I was going to have a baby and I needed something for myself that was mine so I had something to go back to that I didn’t need to start from scratch after maternity leave.

What is the best thing about being a business owner?
That I can create anything I want to create.
The downfalls are that I can never switch off and there are 20 hour days unless I make sure I switch off. But there are no limitations and that motivates me.

What advice would you give someone setting up on their own?
Get really clear on WHY you want to do it first, and only then move on to WHAT you do.

What people are interested in is what is at the heart of your work.

People buy WHY we do things not just WHAT we do so it has got to mean a lot to you. When you invest so much into this new business, this new dream, you better love and care about it otherwise you are just surviving something and not creating something.

What would you tell your younger self?
My 20 year old self. Nicky – trust the process, you are exactly where you are meant to be, don’t give up.
My 30 year old self. Nicky – trust the process, you are exactly where you are meant to be, don’t give up.

I wouldn’t change a single thing because it makes everything I do mean an awful lot. I am who I am today because of all that I have experienced in life, the good, the bad and the ugly. It has all been a gift.

What has been your greatest challenge so far?
To continually trust my instincts no matter what everyone is telling me.
I have a publicist, agent, branding consultants, lots of voices, lots of opinion (all very positive and helpful I’d like to add) but there is a danger of me getting lost. My vision. My heart. I need to keep remembering WHY I am doing what I do. With social media, for example, there is a pull to do what people like but I must stay close to my intention. Not everyone will like it but my integrity is important.

Biggest achievement so far?
It has to be how I am bringing up my daughter. I am so proud of who she is blossoming in to and I am proud of myself of how I am showing up for her.

With work it is not the flashy stuff. It’s when I watch my students or clients transform and get themselves back. It is remarkable watching someone come back to life and have a feeling that you have contributed to that in some way. There’s no better feeling in the world.

NickyClinch36803

How do you get a work/ Mum balance?
I have to be disciplined. When I am working, I am working. When I’m with Teia, I try to be present for her. No Instagram, close the laptop (although I am still really working on this). Days off are quality time. It’s not always perfect but I think it works. She will always be my priority and if there are signs that it’s not working anymore I’ll do what I need to change something. It’s all about balance, for all of us in the family, and we continually need to check in with each other to see if something needs to be shifted to bring us all back into balance.

Last year I miscarried and my husband lost his job in the same week – it was one of the worst times of our marriage. Two weeks later I was in a depression and grieving and my husband was feeling really low. Teia seemed her normal lovely cheery self at home but at school, we found out, she was just sitting in a corner constantly nursing her baby doll and not wanting to play with any of the other kids. She had seen me crying and broken for the first time in her life when I am normally so strong. Her teacher told me what was going on and I cleared the diary and we went off to Malaysia to bond and get all loved-up again.

What do you want from being a working mum?
I used to feel really guilty for loving my work. But I’ve realised it is who I am and the more honest and truthful I am to myself about who I am, the more at ease my daughter feels too.

I am learning that what I am doing is showing my daughter that it is possible to be a woman who follows and fulfills her dreams. That she is capable of anything. I want to teach her how to be a grounded and empowered woman.

Do you miss your ‘old’ life?
Oh goodness, no. I don’t miss my old life at all. I have had moments, though, when I’m desperate for some space to myself or some time out.

I’ve had one weekend to myself since being a mum, when I was alone in the flat for 24 hours. I was like, “Hey Nicky, I haven’t seen you in ages!” and I missed that. It was the first time I had been unattached to anyone else as a wife, mother, counsellor, teacher, a Nicky that didn’t belong to anyone but me and it felt really good. I enjoyed every moment.

I used to spend a lot of time alone doing so much self-pampering.   Nowadays it is very much a luxury but I still wouldn’t change it for anything. Becoming a mother is the best thing that’s ever happened for me.

What are your tips for making it work?
My husband always reminds me that if I go down everyone in the family does so I would say to other juggling mamas, you must take care of your own health and wellbeing. If we neglect this then it will effect our ability to be loving mamas. This is a lesson I have to re-learn over and over.

You also have to be very flexible on any given day. Be open to things not working out. And trust life a bit. No a lot.

And what is the BIG plan? Anything you can tease us with.
Well my big news is that I am writing my first book which I am absolutely thrilled about. It is another dream that I am trying to realise.

I also have some big public festivals and events and workshops coming up. And to try and get in baby number 2 in there somewhere!

It is an exciting year.

And with that, Nicky puts a huge bowl of golden tempeh triangles with rainbow slaw and satay sauce in front of me. It looks and smells so good that I tuck in straight away and have finished the bowl before she has even finished taking her picture (below) of the dish.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 13.23.01.png

There is a joke in my house that nothing can be eaten until it is photographed. I can’t remember the last time I sat down to my meal while it is still hot!

Nicky really is her own best advert. And since meeting up I have booked on to her September course Transform your diet, Transform your life.

For more details about courses, Nicky’s recipes and her blog go to
www.nickyclinch.com

Watch this plant-based space.

Forget Muth-R, you need MUSH

So, remember a couple of months ago I wrote a piece about The Minefield of Making Mum Friends?

It struck a chord with so many people, got shared around the world and lots of people got in touch to say how they could relate. I heard from Dads in the same boat and even randoms on Facebook added me saying that they would be my friend.  Thanks guys, really.

I signed off by saying that I was going to launch an (imaginary) app called Muth-r.  Think Tinder or Grindr for Mums.  This too got a positive response with some kind folk wishing me every success with it. Gawd love ’em.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 22.53.47

 

Then a funny thing happened.

This week I went along to a brilliant Mother’s Meeting event.  It was all about networking and one of the companies that got introduced to the group was Mush.

Now this is where it gets really exciting… because Mush is my imagined app in THE REAL WORLD.

It actually exists and it is thriving. Download it here.

How it works:

 

The two clever brains behind it are ex-advertising MD Sarah Hesz and ex city-broker Katie Massey-Taylor; both from South-West London.

 

Sarah Hesz and Katie Massey-Taylor, developers of the new app Mush.

Sarah Hesz and Katie Massey-Taylor, developers of the new app Mush.

 

They became friends last year, at an admittedly lonely time for them both, when Sarah approached Kate in a rare act of social bravery.

I caught up with Sarah earlier to find out how it all came about.

Why do you think making mum friends is so hard?

It shouldn’t be, but it is.  When you have a small child and you’re knackered it’s hard enough getting out of the house, let alone making conversation with a stranger.  At groups you often know what the kid is called weeks before you find out the mum’s name.

Asking for someone’s number takes courage and or desperation.

I had seen Kate a few times in the playground, she looked normal, we had kids the same age and I needed someone to get through this tough stage with.  I asked her for her number with very little pre-amble and we became great friends.

The funny thing is, we live so close and have Facebook friends in common that it should have been way easier to make an introduction.

So Mush is about making it easier for Mums to connect.

What was the lightbulb moment?

It was a Friday afternoon, we went out for a hectic tea with our four kids at Pizza Express to celebrate that we had kept each other sane through the winter and the births of our second children. At least one bottle of prosecco was involved and the idea was hatched.

How long did it take you from idea to launch?

That initial idea came in March 2015.  We then went through the process of research to see if it existed already; we thought it must do but it didn’t. We talked to people about the idea and they seemed to like it.  We also knew we needed an app which we needed to raise funds for.

We made a really budget website, put 3 posters up around the playgrounds near us saying “Mums of East Sheen, let’s do this together.” And it worked; people signed up for it.  Off the back of that we looked for potential investors.  We secured investment at the start of this year and launched at the end of April.

How did you manage it with the kids?

We had no childcare in the beginning so were pulling in favours all the time.  Once we had some funding we got help so we could dedicate our time properly.  And now it is our job 4-5 days a week but with the flexibility to do nursery drop-offs and park time before tea.

And why the name Mush?

We have a few reasons.  In truth we wanted a word that meant something to mums and mush is something we all know with baby food etc plus we were probably weaning at the time.  It also has other meanings such as face and friend.  Or it could even be Mum’s Social Hub.

Are you both on it and using it?

Absolutlely.  I had a great playdate last week with a woman who, coincidentally, lives on a parallel street.  We had enormous fun puddle-jumping on a rainy afternoon.

What has been the feedback so far?

It has been fantastic.  We have been going for a month and have 11,500 users already.  Mums are making connections and that is extraordinarily satisfying for us.

We have had a lot of positive feedback from the media too:

Slide1

There is so much to do now.  Someone asked me the other day if I was going to have any more kids and I said that I have just had a baby. This app is our baby and it is keeping us very busy.

And finally,  what advice would you give someone with an idea they want to get off the ground?

Believe in your idea, people are going to pick it apart: the trick is to stay committed to your vision but open to feedback and advice.

And with that, I have downloaded the app.  It is really easy and pleasing to use; especially choosing the words to describe what you like to do with your kids and in your non-mummy life.   

I feel a bit furtive and nervous as I make a profile and start checking out other mums but it is also quite exciting to have a nose and see who you like the look of.

I have chosen carefully and sent a message to one mum who looks like my mates, I suppose. Plus she has kids the same age and has put similar interests as me.

We’ll see if she feels the same. I  do hope she doesn’t think I’m mushing into things. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Download the free app here.