2014 March

Lessons I've learned as a mum… so far

03 30 2014

Happy Mother’s Day.  It’s the first day of Spring and the sun has been shining on us as we enjoyed a family day out, one of my intended Memory Days, in the Lake District today.  This is my second Mother’s Day as a mum myself and it’s made me reflect on all the things that this rollercoaster role has taught me.  Here are the 7 lessons I’ve learned from motherhood…

It’s everything I expected it to be… When I was given my Tiny Tears doll for Christmas one year, I remember being back at school after the holidays and feeling eager to be back home to see my little Stefan.  I looked forward to feeding him, changing him, taking care of him.  I’ve always liked the feeling of being able to take care of someone, to make them feel loved and cherished and I hoped to find more of this feeling as a mum.  It’s been the single most rewarding part of being a mum to Louis for the past 19 months.  Not only getting to be the care-giver to someone totally dependent on me and Jack, but also getting so much in return.  From the first smile, the first mummy (which is “bibby” in Louis’ world), to the tiny-mouthed kisses at bedtime, the affection we’ve been given in return has been the biggest treasure of this whole experience so far.

It’s nothing like I expected it to be… Even before we were expecting Louis I’d heard the stories about parenthood being the biggest life-changer ever but that is such an understatement.  There’s pre-baby life and post-baby life.  I’d not anticipated how hard a job it really would be.  Yes, the sleepless nights and the loss of freedom are an adjustment but really it has been the weight of the sense of responsibility that I’ve found the most difficult.  Am I doing it right?  It’s a job without a handbook and, for a perfectionist like me, that’s a scary prospect.  How can I do the best by him?  How can I protect him from the bad and fill his life with the good?  How can I do all that while giving him a sense of self and independence?  I’ve had to learn not to think about it as much – if I do it starts to feel like a big hill to climb!

It’s totally unpredictable… Life is not as calm or as organised or as spontaneous as it once was.  It’s a crazy, unpredictable ride.  Every day is the same in the sense of routine but no day is really the same… That is in someone else’s hands completely.  And that is part of the fun.

It’s a different kind of happy… Pre-baby good times would be doing the things, seeing the people and going to the places I love.  Happiness came from being in good company and in enjoying quiet relaxation.  Maybe a few impromptu drinks on a Sunday afternoon, dinner out and visiting new places.  Post-baby good times are totally different… I can’t explain the happiness I get from making him happy.  I love to see his reaction when we introduce him to new things or taking him to new places.  It’s great to see the wide-eyes and sheer excitement on days like today and that, in turn, brings me more happiness than I could have anticipated.

I appreciate my own parents more… Crikey, my parents have played this game four times over!  And still are… I was sharing with them my realisation of just how much you invest in to being a parent – the love, the time and, for me, the ongoing worry!  It is a game of giving A LOT.  And they tell me it never stops.  They’ve been doing this for 36 years now and that takes some serious stamina.  Being a mum has made me realise even more how much my parents have – and still do – for me.  I’m very lucky to have two fantastic role models to try to emulate…

I’m going to change my mind… I’m now 3 weeks away from Baby Two’s due date.  At this point in my first pregnancy I was reading baby books diligently.  I wanted to create a nurturing environment and establish a stable routine for my newborn.  A few weeks in and all the ideals I’d imagined were out of the window.  We learned to do things our own way.  We’d try one thing and if it worked, we’d give each other a pat on the back and stick with it.  If it didn’t, we panicked a little and tried something (anything!) else.  And that’s if we could agree between us.  In truth, we’re still learning and, in the meantime, it’s all coming down to common-sense, intuition and a fair amount of compromise.

I’m lucky… I know I’m lucky to be a mum and to have my own mum to support me.  Some others aren’t so lucky.  I count my blessings. 

Wishing you all a happy Mother’s Day…

I’d love to hear from you.  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your mum or by being a mum yourself?

Image source: {Etsy}

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Featured on: Mumpreneur UK

03 27 2014

I’m excited to feature on Mumpreneur UK where I’m sharing my thoughts on ditching the masculine business plan.

In this post, I share:

– How my desire for freedom influences business basics

– Why a business plan gathers dust

– My tips for writing a business plan with heart/

You can read the full post on Mumpreneur UK HERE


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Can you play out? How to unwind and have fun

03 23 2014

Remember when you used to get a knock-on the door from your friend asking you to play out?  Well, this week, I’m that friend…

I’m asking you out to play, to let your hair down, to unleash your inner silly side.

There are so many reasons to be sensible – responsibility to your children, money to earn, chores to be done – and I’m guilty of letting all the “grown-up stuff” take over.  But where’s the fun in that if you’re not living a little too.  So, this week I’m encouraging you to be silly and have fun.

What makes you laugh so much that your cheeks ache?

What makes you feel carefree and childlike?

How can you let loose your silly side?

My silly list includes: dancing to my favourite cheesy iPod playlist, singing at the top of my voice, having a go on the aerial slide next time I take my little boy to the park (I keep wanting to have a go but have resisted looking like a big kid!!!).

I’d love to hear from you: what will you do this week to play a little?  Share in the Comments below… you could maybe even share a picture if you’re brave enough??  

Image source: Elle Walker

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Secrets of my Success: Meg Biram

03 20 2014

Prepare to be inspired… Meg Biram is a journalism graduate turned multi-passionate entrepreneur. After giving five years to roles in the corporate world with The Observer Media Group and Hallmark Cards, Meg followed her entrepreneurial instinct.  She’d been blogging to curate fashion, interiors and art since 2007 and, four years later, was able to turn her online home into a business.  From there her business has evolved to include a shop, online marketing and social media consulting, speaking and collaborations with brands including Kate Spade New York, Nike and Macy’s.  Meg also co-founded The B Bar – an online ebookshop.  

I’m excited to introduce Meg today as she shares the secrets of her success….

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  What motivated you to start your own business?

I don’t think there’s been a defining moment for me, I just always knew I’d be an entrepreneur. There are a lot of entrepreneurs in my extended family so I grew up thinking it was normal. I did the corporate world for five years and it just further solidified that it was not my thing.


How did you go from the seedling of a business idea to ‘open for business’?  How did you get started?  And how has your business evolved (into now multi-passionate!)?

When I started my blog back in 2007, blogging wasn’t really a business for most people. None of us realised that blogging itself could turn into a business so I always thought I’d be doing something else and blogging was just to help market it.  Obviously that changed as it became possible to monetise blogs, but once I left my Senior Designer position at Hallmark Cards in early 2011 and moved to Washington DC that’s when I started consulting seriously, and the rest of my businesses grew from there.


Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.
I’m always thinking about what’s next. I plan for it and act on my plan, but I allow flexibility and let things evolve and surprise me. I’ve got a lot of things in the works for 2014. 


How do you stay motivated and inspired?
I guess I’m never not motivated or inspired. It’s just innate for me.


What has been your biggest lesson learned?
That even sometimes good ideas I have aren’t necessarily what I want to spend my time doing. 


What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?
I tend to put myself in a lot of situations that challenge me because I feel like you can’t grow or you aren’t taking enough risk if you aren’t kinda scared sometimes. So I know that as long as I put myself in uncomfortable positions sometimes, I’ll come out of it stronger.


[Tweet “You aren’t taking enough risk if you aren’t kinda scared sometimes” – @MegBiram via @EmmaGwillim”]
What do you believe is the secret of your success?
Persistence and hard work.


What 3 tips would you offer women on how to follow their professional ambitions and design a life that sparkles?
Research anything and everything about the industry you want to be in.
Talk to as many people as you can that have done what you want to do or something similar.
Make sure that what you want to do is unique to you.  Don’t just copy what other people are doing because you think it looks fun.  Dig deep to find your true passions and work hard to make them original to you.


[Tweet “”Dig deep to find your true passions and work hard to make them original to you” @MegBirman via @EmmaGwillim”]


Images: Abby Jiu


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How to keep things simple when overwhelm creeps in...

03 09 2014

This week’s blog post is brought to you with a KISS: I’m Keeping It Short and Sweet.

You might remember that at the beginning of the year I chose a theme for the year for my business (and life) goals: simplicity.  Well, as I hurtled into March I took some time to reflect on my goals… and realised things had become far from simple.  So, with renewed determination, my theme of simplicity is back.

This means:

– As you know I like to plan my week ahead on a Sunday night so, this week, I’ll be thinking about what’s really important.  Yes, there are 101 things I should or could be doing but only a handful that really matter.  Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.  80% of your happiness comes from 20% of your activities.  As I think about my goals, I’m reminding myself of the precious 20% that really counts towards my ideal future, my goals and making the days count right now.

– I’m trying to get rid of some of the white noise.  Social media counts as a work activity for me.  I love the community that I’ve found in Facebook groups and contacts (and online friends) I’ve made on Twitter, but I too easily get drawn into discussions and attracted by new ideas that, for now, aren’t my priority.  First off, I’m imposing a limit on my social media time and I’m planning to use it with reason – not to consume more and more information but to connect with people with meaning.

– I’m adding in more quiet time.  I’m not sure where I heard this phrase a few years ago, but it really speaks to me: be still and listen to the whispers.  I know when I slow down the pace and have healthy doses of quiet time, everything becomes that little bit clearer.  I get flashes of inspiration and answers to questions… and I just feel so much calmer.  

If 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts, where will you focus your attention this week?  How can you listen to the whispers a little more?  

Image source: {1}

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Secrets of my Success: Magazine editor and blogger Alison Perry

03 06 2014

It’s a first today as the Secrets of my Success interview with Alison Perry is my first video interview…

Alison is a magazine editor and writes the award-winning NotAnotherMummyBlog.com.  As well as being the driving force behind a magazine, she’s also featured in magazines herself such as Grazia and Mother & Baby, she has appeared on Lorraine’s sofa and she’s been a guest speaker at Mumsnet bloggers conference.  AND, last but by no means least, she is mummy to a gorgeous 3-year old daugher.

Alison shares:

  • What inspired her to start her own blog
  • How she manages the juggle of having a professional career, a blog and a 3-year old daughter
  • How she is motivated by ‘moments of gratification’ rather than big goals
  • An introduction to “phubbing”
  • What she believes is the secret to her success

Now it’s over to you.  What opportunities can you say YES to today?  Share with us in the Comments below…

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Nesting for business and a baby... with a success mindset

03 02 2014

Our house has been upside down this past week.  We’ve been emptying and decorating our spare room to make room for our new little arrival in April. The teeny baby clothes are out of storage, washed and ready for their new home. All the kit and caboodle a newborn needs has been ordered.  Nesting season has officially started.  There are 7 weeks to go and I’m getting prepared.

Among the chaos, I realised something. We’re making room in our home and our lives for something we want to happen – welcoming the new addition to our family.  We’ve got total belief that, this springtime, we’ll be a family of four.  That belief has created action in the form of a big, pre-baby to-do list for me (and mostly for my husband).

Where in your life could you do with a bit more belief?  Where should you be ‘nesting’?

Think of a goal or vision you have for your career or business.  Do you believe 100% that you WILL make it happen, that you will bring that goal into the world?  And are you ‘nesting’ for it?  Imagine when you want to have achieved this goal.  If you knew it would absolutely be a reality on that date, would you be ready for it?  If it arrived into the world a little early – like today or tomorrow – would you be ready for it?

I realised I’d been ‘putting off’ a few things in my own business as I was waiting until I’d got ‘there’, achieved my big goal.  What my little nesting frenzy taught me is that, by waiting, I was keeping that goal just out of reach.  If, instead, I had total and utter belief that it will happen I’d be doing a few things differently.  When I asked myself “if I’d achieved this goal today, would I be ready?” I couldn’t honestly answer yes.  I needed to get my house in order.  I needed to ‘nest’ for my business.

So, over to you.  Think about your goal.  Imagine it’s here now, wrapped up in a big, red bow, ready for you to start living it – are you ready?  What actions can you take now to demonstrate your total belief that it will happen?  Share with us what 1-3 actions you will take to ‘nest’ for your goal in the Comments below.

p.s. Isn’t this little set of Matroyshka dolls cute?  I found it here

Image: {1}

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