I love quotes. This is the one that caught my mind today.
“Don't you find it odd," she continued, "that when you're a kid, everyone, all the world, encourages you to follow your dreams. But when you're older, somehow they act offended if you even try.” ― Ethan Hawk
Whatever you do today, wear your crown. Dream big and not small. Whether you dream big or dream small, to execute your dream will take the same amount of stress. Also, remember this, when you are ready to execute your big dream, someone will encourage you to be realistic about your dream! Don’t listen.
Have a wonderful day.
So, why do I model my own clothes? Why don’t I have a professional photographer taking my photos for my website? To be honest with you, it just happened that way. At the start of this journey, I had to keep costs down. On here, I love showing you how I wear my designs and prints. I can’t remember the last time I did not wear anything from Kemi Telford. About the photographs on my website, my daughters who are 10 and 11 take them for me. Again, it just happened that way.
Doing things my way (against everything the fashion industry claims brings success) has taught my daughters and me so much. It has taught us that some rules set by experts can be broken and things will still work out well. It has taught us that consistency matters when building something. It has taught us that when something is not bringing the desired results, it is okay and sensible to drop it; it is not a failure. My daughters and I have acquired incredible skills which mean we understand this business.
Okay, enough of my musing. Have a wonderful and wear your crown. Yvonne x
The word GEM means different things to different people. For me, it means treasure... I am a treasure. For others, it means something different.
Once a week, we'll ask a woman to share with us what the word GEM means to her. Her answer will be published her. This week, it was Monika Buglear's turn to tell us what GEM means to her. Here is her response
"When I saw the word GEM, the first thing popped in my mind the meaning of the word which is "precious stone" and "outstanding beautiful person" ...which I think is perfect way to describe any Mama. The solid foundation of a family a happy mother who loves life and enjoying the journey."
“Since becoming a Mum of twins my own personal morning routine has been fairly limited. It’s mostly been about getting the children fed, clean, dressed, teeth brushed, bags packed and ready to go. The time I have been spending on getting myself ready has been very minimal indeed! Wash & go, literally!
Check out Jess Soothill’s post here
Buying the right gifts for loved ones can be a difficult task. Fashion stylist and mum-of-two, Yvadney of Style After Nine Blog has made this crazy task easier for you. She has made a comprehensive list of Christmas gift ideas if you are shopping for mums. The exciting news is, Yvadney recommended our MAMA COOL canvas case!
Check out Yvadney blog here
This is my first article after taking a mini break from blogging. I am so excited to be back. My first interview is with the amazing Michaela Strivens, a photographer and a mum of two based in Carshalton- Surrey. Her amazing photographs caught my eye many times on her Facebook page and Instagram. When Michaela emailed to say we should collaborate on some pictures I could not resist her offer. What I love most about Michaela’s photography style is that there are no props or posing - she catches yu on unaware . I totally love these portraits she took on our stroll at a Carshalton Park. Her details are at the end of this interview, you can follow her work there.
When was Michaela Strivens Photography set up? I started my professional Facebook page at the beginning of Summer and went live with my professional website at the beginning of Autumn this year.
Why did you set up Michaela Strivens Photography? After my second daughter was born, I decided not to return to my marketing job. The cost of childcare for two children would have wiped out most of my salary and I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated in my job anyway. Adjusting to life as a stay-at-home mum wasn’t easy for me at first. I often felt quite lonely and, dare I say it, bored! There’s only so many times you can play doctors and patients without wondering whether an actual trip to the hospital might actually be quite fun! I found that meeting up with other local mums and volunteering really helped but I needed something more…
I’ve always loved photography but never took it that seriously. It was my husband who suggested I take it further and so I enrolled in a photography course designed for parents, and from then on I’ve been totally hooked. Photography has ignited a passion in me that I always knew was there but just wasn’t sure of how to access. I feel incredibly grateful every single day that I’ve found this path.
Setting up a photography business wasn’t necessarily something that I’d planned to do but more of a natural progression. After seeing my work, friends and family started asking me to take photos of their kids, and then their friends asked and so it got to the stage where I thought I’d better start doing things properly! It was a little daunting at first, but with the encouragement of friends and family, and lots of photo sessions and later, Michaela Strivens Photography was born.
What makes your photography stand out from the saturated world of photography? I’m a lifestyle portrait photographer, which means I use natural light, shoot on locations that mean something to my clients (either out and about or at home) and steer away from using props or rigidly posing my subjects. I don’t do cake smashes (unless you invite me to the party itself) or put babies in vegetable crates, but I respect that there’s a market for that style of photography and it’s already being very well catered for. I’d say that what makes me unique as a photographer, is the approach that I bring to the shoots; from the relationship that I build with the people I am photographing to the way that I and portray them. I am passionate about capturing authentic moments and expressions, which I hope translates into the photographs themselves. Most importantly, photography is not just a job for me, but a way of life and something I’m deeply passionate about. My hope is that this is reflected in photographs that my clients will love too and will look back on fondly in years to come.
You are a mum of two very young kids, how has motherhood changed you? I think motherhood has in the most part changed me for the better. I used to be a lot more obliging with people I didn’t agree with but these days I will stand up for what I believe is best for me and my family without hesitation. I also used to spend a great deal of time worrying about my appearance but now I don’t have time for vanity and so I’m much more comfortable in my own skin! Being a mother has meant that my focus is much more ‘outward’ which for me, has been a positive development. I’m much more involved in my local community than I was before – whether it be through helping to run a local mums and toddler’s group, or just reading with the children at my daughter’s school.
How do you maintain a work and life balance? As my photography business is still in its early stages so I’m still finding my way on that front. The next couple of months will be a real test for me as fortunately, I’m working almost every weekend! At the moment, I’m doing photo sessions when my husband can take care of the girls and I spend a lot of evenings editing photos, emailing, updating social media and the like. I sometimes feel guilty when the girls are plugged into the TV and I’m doing something work related on the computer but then I remember that if I had gone back to my old job they’d most likely be in after school care or similar and so don’t feel so bad! I’m always there for them when they need me but I also remind them on occasion that I have needs too and that they need to respect that. When I’m feeling a bit worn out I explain this to them and suggest that we do a less demanding activity. I think it’s important, especially in this day and age when mums are under so much pressure to be everything to everyone, to be honest with your kids. If you’re not up for another round of hide and seek then you have to speak up. I’ve had to relax my standards of neat and tidiness around the house quite a bit but I’m my own worst enemy on that front – no one else in the family cares if the house hasn’t been dusted for ages! My husband works long hours and travels quite a bit so he’s not around to help out with domestic stuff but he’s behind what I’m doing 100% and a great emotional and intellectual support. I’m very grateful for that.
What is the movie that made you cry the hardest? Dumbo.
If you ran the world, what law would you introduce?You have to have volunteered and worked with the most disadvantaged people in your local community before you become a politician.
How do you chill out? I love a good Scandinavian crime drama or movie along with a tall glass of something yummy.
What skills would you like to pass on to your daughters? The ability to empathise, to know and understand the rules before you go breaking them and how to make pancakes (everyone loves a pancake).
What is your favourite food? I couldn’t live without cheese – the smellier the better!
Freewill or destiny? A mix of both I think. Everyone has the power to change the path they’re on, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s good to have an understanding of how your upbringing and experiences have influenced the choices you’ve made in life but at the end of the day, they’re your choices and you’re responsible for them.
In three sentences, tell us what we don’t know about you.I’m Australian and have lived in four countries – Australia (obviously), Hong Kong, Japan and England. I spent my teenage years studying dance instead of going to high school. I have a metal rod and five nuts and bolts in my left arm – the result of an unfortunate snowboarding accident!
You can contact Michaela using any of the details below.
Mum of three and PR Executive, Shilpa Saul is incredibly clever, cool and funny. In this Q&A session, she talks childhood memories,motherhood, Kylie & turning 40.
Tell us about you. My name is Shilpa, I am 40 years old and I live in Carshalton with my husband and three children. I am full of contradictions.
Why did you start your blog Must be the Mummy? People would always tell me they loved my status updates on Facebook and kept asking me to start a blog. Eventually, I succumbed although I’m afraid to say I really don’t blog as much as I should or as much as I’d like.
You wrote about the joys of turning 40, tell us more about that. I think the popular meme ‘Don’t regret growing older, it’s a privilege denied to many’ sums it up for me. I just feel really grateful and happy that I have turned 40 and am happy and healthy. There’s no denying that I am now a proper grown up and that has given me an immeasurable confidence to do what I want whilst giving zero f***s about other people’s opinions. 2016 has been and will continue to be ‘the year of me’ because I finally trust my gut instinct.
How did you meet your husband? We had an arranged marriage and didn’t meet each other until the day of our wedding. KIDDING! We met in a dark, dingy, achingly hip club in West London (the Notting Hill Arts Club) at a club night called ‘Bombay Bronx’. I had actually spotted him at a couple of events in the past but, disappointingly, he claims he’d never seen me before that night. Anyway, I was chatting with a friend of mine who was in a band. The girl who did his PR came over and introduced herself to me and said that her friend really liked my jeans. Up strolled Mango dressed like a McFly/ Busted reject with a massive grin on his face. I have to say, it was love at first sight for me. We spent the evening chatting about random things and it turned out we knew plenty of people in common as he worked at Smash Hits at the time, whilst I worked at a PR agency called Freuds. When it was time for him to leave, I gave him my phone number, email address and business card. The rest, as they say, is history.
What is the coolest thing about you? Nothing. I am deeply, deeply uncool (see above)
What is the coolest thing about being a mum? There are so many cool things about being a mum. One of my favourite things is being able to dance around the kitchen with my little girls and coercing them into loving Kylie circa 1987.
What is the one talent you wished you had? I would love to be able to write great songs – beautiful music with inspired lyrics. In fact, I would actually like to be able to write one incredibly popular Christmas hit single so my family and I could live off the proceeds for the rest of my life and my music would be indelibly etched into the memories of a generation or two.
What is your favourite music of all time? I am a massive lover of Christmas so it’s probably Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’.
What is the book that made a difference to your life? Enid Blyton’s The Folk of the Faraway Tree. I remember my late mother reading this book to me over and over again until I was old enough to read it myself. I’m pretty sure I read it every summer for a good few years. It is a wonderfully magical tale and every time I think about it I remember just how much time and effort my mother spent encouraging my love of reading and the written word.
What do you still have from your childhood? LOADS of stuff! Care Bears, a Cabbage Patch Kid, a chic-a-boo monkey, a Strawberry Shortcake handbag – the list goes on. I’ve given most of it to my girls. What I love is that everything was in pristine condition but are now completely battered – a good sign that they’re being played with and enjoyed!
Who is your fashion Icon? Edina Monsoon, from Absolutely Fabulous. I think as I get older I am more inclined to dress like an ageing teenager. Such fun.
What is the lesson your kids have taught you? To forgive easily and laugh often
What is the best advice you have ever been given? I suffered a huge crisis of confidence when I returned to work after having my first child. I eventually went to see a hypnotherapist who told me that people are often way too concerned about how they are perceived in the workplace to really have the time or energy to form an opinion about me. Put another way, everyone’s got their own sh*t to deal with so really don’t care about yours!
What advice would you give your 14-year-old self? Your parents can’t read your mind. If you feel sad, scared, worried or upset speak up and tell them.
What is the one rule you ignore? I actually love rules – I’m a stickler for rules and instructions, particularly the highway code. I try not to ignore any.
What is the one rule your kids ignore? To turn the TV off after they’ve watched one programme each.
The month of July is Independent Retailers Month and Calladoodles are getting involved in this annual campaign. To celebrate,( and on their behalf) I interviewed four women involved (in one way or another) with running independent shops on Carshalton High Street. This week, it is Rebecca Mackenzie turn. She is owner Dotty Teahouse. Rebecca talks motherhood, favourite food, and holidays.
When was Dotty Teahouse set up? Dotty’s Teahouse opened in May 2016 following 4 years of trading at festivals and private events from my vintage caravan “Dotty”.
Why was Dotty Teahouse set up? Dotty’s Teahouse was a natural progression for me having spent much of 2015 establishing a tea room in Kingston’s famous market place. Originally a Christmas ‘pop-up’ concept championed by Kingston Council we were able to use the opportunity to learn, adapt, and spend time building our brand and perfecting our style.
What should we expect when we visit your cafe? Dotty’s is a vintage style teahouse serving freshly made food, cakes, cream teas and of course the traditional ‘high tea’. We are a family friendly café offering mums and local’s a place to meet, eat and shop as we have a lovely selection of handmade gifts which are all sourced from local independents. Dotty’s is a community hub and we are so thrilled that people are enjoying what we have to offer!
How has motherhood changed you? Motherhood has changed me in a lot of ways, some for the better, some for the worse. But like most mothers I am fiercely protective of my children. I think this is mainly because I was very ill during my (twin) pregnancy and there was a serious threat we could have lost them. That thought still haunts me to this day but conversely, it has also been a huge motivating factor and I strive each day to make their little lives as happy and secure as I can.
How do you maintain a work and life balance? At The moment my work / life balance is a little off kilter… but that’s because I have taken on a huge project with Dotty’s Teahouse and it is still early days. My girls are hugely involved with the Teahouse and they love helping Mummy when they can, they are learning valuable life skills and whilst that is important I am very conscious that we spend time together as a family and that we have fun! Working, looking after children and running a home is a constant juggling act but I have a very supportive family and we all help each other as much as possible, it's teamwork!
What is the movie that made you cry the hardest? Beaches with Bet Midler! It’s an old film about 2 little girls who become friends and go onto to lead separate lives, but one of them dies and it’s so sad…it just gets me every time!!
If you ran the world, what law would you introduce? Be kind to one another.
What is your favourite vacation spot? I love the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire. We visit the Cotswolds as often as we can. It’s such a change of pace, lots of fresh air and lots of beautiful countryside to explore…not to mention the fact that it is home to many beautiful tearooms and I always love to pick up new ideas!
What skills would you like to pass on to your daughters Oh this is a hard one... I guess it would have to be my determination and self-belief. My mother and father have always said that when I get an idea into my head I do not let it go and whilst this can be infuriating for my long suffering family, I think it’s actually a good attribute to have! I hope my daughters have the confidence and determination to live their life as they wish and fulfil all of their dreams no matter what.
What is your favourite food? I love Chinese food! Definitely my favourite food of all time!
Freewill or destiny? Destiny
Mum of three and Field Co-ordinator for Reverse Rett, Beth Johnsson is an incredible and a beautiful woman - I am honoured to know her. After her daughter Hannah was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, Beth and her family are now very involved with fundraising for research to help speed treatments and a cure. Beth talks motherhood, the future and rice cakes.
What time did you wake up this morning? 5.45am, to the sound of a 6-year-old saying ‘Can I open my presents now?’!
What is your daily routine like? Depends on which job I’m doing that day. If it’s a teaching day then it’s up and out at 7am, school by 7.30am and then lessons, meetings, marking until 3.50pm when I dash to pick up Hannah and get back to the boys for 5.30pm. Then it’s all about the children for a couple of hours until bedtime and stories, then once they’re asleep it’s back downstairs for marking, planning lessons and all the usual teacher stuff. If it’s a non-teaching day then I’m on the morning school runs and then settling down to Reverse Rett work until it’s time to collect the kids and start after-school and evening routines again.
What did you have for breakfast? Erm, never eat breakfast. Sorry Mum.
What food do you live on? Chicken, giant rice cakes, marmite and sugary tea (not at the same time!)
Do you have a pet name for your husband? Nope. But if I call him by his name he knows he’s in trouble!
How do you manage/balance work and family commitments? Minimise sleep.
What do you like most about being a mother? Wow, that’s a tough question. Where do I start? There’s just nothing in the world like it is there? I still feel like I’m not a real one somehow, it seems too incredible to actually be the mum of three small humans. Nothing beats that first moment when they’re placed in your arms, but I feel like that moment is repeated every time they slip their hand into yours, or put their arms around you. It makes everything else fade away. I also love just watching them, especially when they don’t know you’re there - watching the boys chat together or work out a new game, or when they hug Hannah or help her with something or try to make her laugh, that’s priceless.
How did you meet your husband? We were both in Sydney and started the same job on the same day, fundraising for Amnesty International. It took a while before I realised he wanted to be more than friends!
What do you like most about yourself? Erm. I’m stubborn, which can be a terrible quality but can also be good. I don’t give in to peer pressure or give up on things which I’m passionate about.
What is your greatest strength? The same as the above. I’m relentless. I’ve been criticised for it before, but it can be a useful thing too.
What word describes how you live your life? Hopefully.
What is your hope for your kids? That they are safe, healthy, happy, and good people. I want them to have the courage and the support to pursue the things which make them happy and to stand up for what they believe in. I want them to have empathy and kindness as fundamentals, but also the strength and determination to do whatever they can to make the world a better place. I hope they get to grow up in a world which is kinder than it appears to me to be right now.
What is the best advice you have ever been given? My Grandma passed away when I was 10, but I always remember she used to say that you never regret the things you do, only the things you don’t. I try to keep this in mind and to be ready to take the leap of faith to do things which scare me. I don’t want to wake up in 40 years’ time and wish I had.
Beauty means… Self-acceptance and Compassion.
What do you wish for the future? I’m a worrier and can stay awake for hours worrying about the future for my children, on a personal level as well as on a global scale. I think I would have been this way to some degree anyway, but the experiences we have gone through with Hannah have made me more fiercely protective, more cautious, at the same time as more appreciative of all the amazing things we do have. So there are so many wishes for the future. Ultimately, I want to watch all my children grow up and to see them become independent, happy, good people. I wish that one day I will hear my daughter’s voice again. I wish that I will see her run and play and know that her future is as bright as any other child’s. I wish that they always have each other and that the love I see between them now holds them together always, no matter what life throws at them.
If you want me to truly answer the question thinking about the wishes and the worries I have right now, today, I would have to say that I passionately wish that Britain can remain part of the EU, that we can find a way to rebuild our broken society, and that the far right views and attitudes which are now being expressed by the minority, can be prevented from becoming the dominant force in our political landscape. This scares me a lot.
What lesson has your daughter taught you about who you are?
That I can cope with things I never thought I would cope with and that I can love more fiercely and unconditionally than I knew was possible. As my first child, I suppose she also taught me that I can be a mum and that it is the greatest privilege I know.
What lessons have your sons taught you?
So much. They’ve taught me that children are more resilient, accepting and wise than most grown-ups, that nothing should ever be taken for granted, that time together is more important than all the toys in the world, that enjoying the moment is more important than capturing it, and that it is physically impossible for small boys and socks to stay attached to each other . . .
Never leave home without…
What was the last book you read?
‘Room on the Broom’ to Hannah last night!
Half-way through ‘Regeneration’ (again).
When was the last time you danced?
Depends on what you mean by ‘dance’ I ‘dance’ around the living room to Olly Murs and One Direction a lot, to keep Hannah amused (she laughs at me, not with me), so if this counts then it was yesterday . . .
Follow Beth on Twitter
Beth's Blog is HERE
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